BRC calls for early start to Christmas as Oxford St plans to turn on lights by Nov 2

ONS figures find shoppers stocking up for Christmas in October
The ONS found online sales now account for almost 30% of all retail sales.
// BRC launches nationwide ‘Shop early, start wrapping, enjoy Christmas’ campaign
// Shoppers encouraged to spread demand during peak shopping period, with Oxford Street lights also due to be switched on earlier

The British Retail Consortium has announced a new national campaign calling on the public to start their shopping earlier to help spread demand for the peak shopping season.

Titled ‘Shop early, start wrapping, enjoy Christmas’, the campaign is designed as a riff on the government’s coronavirus guidelines used throughout 2020.

With London, Essex and York placed into Tier 2 lockdown this weekend and Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in Tiers 2 and 3, the BRC is keen to encourage shoppers to start their Christmas shopping early.

The trade body argued that whether Christmas shopping is taking place online or in person, shoppers could help retailers this year by reducing last-minute demand for items in the final weeks of November and December.

READ MORE: Selfridges opens Christmas shop 75 days in advance

The BRC pointed out that retailers have been strengthening their supply chains since March, putting in place additional safety and hygiene measures across their stores and online operations.

“Whilst celebrations will no doubt be a little different this year, we know customers want to keep Christmas special. That’s why we’re encouraging people to shop early and prevent the last minute rush so their fellow customers and all the store colleagues, warehouse workers and delivery drivers working behind the scenes, have the space they need to stay safe and well,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“BRC’s September sales figures show signs some customers have already started a little earlier than usual, as spreading your Christmas shopping has many benefits in today’s climate – from safety to managing finances. However, we want more people to embrace the true Christmas spirit, think of others and ‘Shop Early, Start Wrapping’ and most of all Enjoy Christmas – however they are celebrating,” Dickinson added.

Oxford Street announced this week it would be switching on its lights earlier this year, on Monday November 2.

The date is about three weeks earlier than in 2019, when the lights were turned on for November 21.

The central London shopping destination has revealed this year’s lights will showcase a poem created in partnership with Selfridges.

The poem will be displayed across 27 LED light curtains, and is said to pay tribute to London and how people have come together during the pandemic.

Due to government restrictions, there will be no switch on evening or event this year.

The lights will instead be turned on earlier than usual to give visitors more time to enjoy the festive season.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Oxford Street to share our poem on the iconic Christmas lights this year. We’re so excited to welcome visitors from London and beyond to the street to celebrate the festive season, and bring them the Christmas magic that 2020 is calling for,” Selfridges stores director Meave Wall said.

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