Consumers have been flocking to the UK’s department stores over the last few weeks, favouring traditional Christmas purchases such as Lego, chocolates and Monopoly.
House of Fraser’s most requested toys at the start of December were new takes on old favourites, with Lego City Airport and Monopoly Revolution featuring prominently on the wish-lists of the visitors to the retailer’s festive grottos.
Matt Chambers, House of Fraser’s Brand Director, said that shopping patterns show “a return to a traditional Christmas with emphasis on classic family values”.
He added: “Items such as pheasant decorations, frosted trees and traditional oak leaf garlands are big sellers.”
Trading activity in the last week at retail industry bellwether John Lewis has been as buoyant as ever, with yesterday’s midweek update showing that sales between Sunday and Wednesday increased 12 per cent year-on-year.
Following the traditional Christmas trend, the Charbonnel chocolate truffles and champagne gift set has been very popular over the four-day period, with sales growing by 111 per cent on the previous week.
Meanwhile Molten Brown and Liz Earle were the top sellers in the health & beauty department, with one item from these ranges selling every six seconds and sales across the whole of this product assortment up eight per cent year-on-year.
A John Lewis spokesperson told Retail Gazette that in the first two weeks of December, when Christmas shopping really ramped up a gear, the top selling toy, perfume product and gadget were Biscuit the dog, Chanel No 5 and the 8GB iPod Touch respectively.
At luxury department store Harrods staff are spreading the Christmas cheer by pushing the bespoke element of the business’s array of services, with pre-prepared gifts on offer and a Wrapology concession set up in store to help shoppers personlise their presents.
Annalise Quest, General Merchandise Manager for Beauty at Harrods, explained: “Christmas started early at Harrods this year, as we have enjoyed a great boost to our numbers of international visitors as well as growth in our domestic trade.
“We have seen a strong trend this season for ‘bespoke gifting’ just as we have seen a trend for bespoke in all areas of the business this year.
“We have catered to this by making sure we offer a quality wrapping services across all brands, with boxes to cater for every need and of course plentiful supplies of ribbon and bows.”