Panic Saturday: Consumers to splash out £1.2bn in run up to Christmas

Guy Bentley
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In the last Saturday before Christmas 13m shoppers are set to shell out £1.2bn, according to the Centre for Retail Research.

The research claims this year's shopping bonanza will see a seven per cent rise in spending compared to last year. Consumers will be spending £2.1m every minute the equivalent of £92.31 per person.

Sales could be boosted by as much as 21 per cent from 2013 to £4.74bn in the final few days before Christmas. In November, recent figures showed retail sales climbing 6.4 per cent reaching their highest level since 2004.

Many of Britain's leading department stores have slashed their prices to entice shoppers looking for last-minute deals. Boots has cut prices by 60 per cent for some fragrances while Debenhams has reduced the cost of some items by 50 per cent.

Close to 70m consumers are forecast to pay a visit to the high street between Saturday and Christmas Eve. This represents a rise of 14 per cent compared to last year.

Retail sales received a substantial lift from Black Friday when retailers offered discounts on thousands of products. Falling commodity prices and the ongoing supermarket price wars have left households better off and helped boost consumer spending.

Black Friday, originally an American tradition which follows Thanksgiving and was so-called because it marked the point in the year when retailers broke into the black, was introduced to the UK by US retailers and has now become key part of the pre-Christmas sales calendar.

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