Last weekend, shoppers were kept at home by severe winter weather but with the icy conditions now lifting a little, they look set to hit the high streets in earnest in a late surge of Christmas shopping. Some experts are predicting that today could be the biggest shopping day of all time.
To give a measure of the business that is expected to go through the nation’s tills, card company Visa says it expects to process around 26.5 million transactions, worth more than £1.2 billion, throughout the day, some 20 per cent up compared with last year.
That’s good news for retailers, particularly smaller traders. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, many had taken on extra seasonal staff to cope with anticipated Christmas demand, only to see a drop in footfall of up to 30 per cent last weekend, leaving them to cope with increased overheads and reduced takings.
As John Walker, national chairman of the FSB says: "Small businesses were banking on a good Christmas to make up for a bad year and the prospect of more bad news in 2011.”
With two shopping days to go before Christmas, a significant spending spree will go at least some way to get retailers back on track. And the start of the sales on 27 December should help too.
So while this may not have been quite the festive season they had hoped for, perhaps retailers will be enjoying some kind of a Christmas bonus after all.
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