Struggling retailers could be about to suffer a sorry Christmas Eve as figures suggest consumers will spend significantly less than last year on one of the calendar’s busiest shopping days.
Shoppers will spend £726 million on Christmas Eve this year, according to Sainsbury’s Bank credit cards - a significant drop from last year’s poll in which consumers said they expected to splash out £1.4 billion.
The findings will be especially troubling for retailers hoping for a bonanza Saturday after Christmas Eve last year fell on a Thursday.
This season’s last full day of shopping falling on a Saturday should have been perfect timing for stores, which have seen their margins squeezed between rising business costs and consumer demand for rock-bottom prices.
Supermarkets expect their busiest shopping day to be Friday, however, and the Westfield mall in west London also predicts footfall will hit a peak of more than 300,000 people ahead of the weekend.
But the Sainsbury’s poll also found that Christmas shoppers’ total spending over this week will reach just £191 each, significantly down from last year’s £272.
Westfield said this year “boasts the added benefit of Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday” in what it hoped would allow for “two Super Saturdays”.
Meanwhile, post-Christmas shoppers are predicted to go on a £3.85bn bargain hunt on Boxing Day, spending £2.95bn on the high street and another £900m online, according to VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research.
Shoppers are expected to spend £7.6bn between Boxing Day and December 29, with 67% of this going into high street tills.
VoucherCodes managing director Claire Davenport said: “Consumer appetite for deals remains stronger than ever, with billions set to be spent in store and on the high street between Boxing Day and New Year.