Experts think shoppers will spend £35billion in stores in the four weeks to Christmas as pent-up High Street demand is released. Andy Bromley, director of market research agency Spark Emotions, said: “We found that 56 percent of consumers still intend on spending the same amount on Christmas this year compared with 2019, with 11 percent actually intending to spend more.
“A third of consumers plan on buying higher value presents for fewer people. The desire to treat loved ones on the back of a horrible year was the primary motivation.”
Non-essential stores can reopen next Wednesday after weeks of lockdown and market analysts Kantar predict shoppers will splash out to capture the magic of Christmas parties.
Retailers expect big demand for popular gifts such as perfumes which are not often bought online.
Richard Lim, chief executive of consultants Retail Economics, said: “There will definitely be an element of pent-up demand. We’re in the ‘golden quarter’ as we head towards Christmas. There’s been absolutely huge disruption this year.”
Chains such as M&S and Primark will extend their opening hours to help make up for lost sales amid the rush of festive shoppers.
M&S will keep 400 stores open until midnight from December 21 to December 23.
Its retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji said: “We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence this Christmas, which means supporting social distancing in our stores and minimal queueing outside.
“We’ll be operating our longest-ever opening hours. We continue to ask for Sunday trading hours to be extended to help us increase our capacity to serve everyone safely.”
Analysts Mintel expect in-store and online sales in November and December to be £81.7billion, a fall of just 0.4 percent compared with last year’s £82billion sales.