High street hopes for Boxing Day boost as spending expected to hit £4.75bn

Alex Daniel
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Selfridges Opens Its Doors For The Boxing Day Sales
After a disappointing Black Friday, retailers will be hoping for better footfall on Boxing Day (Source: Getty)

High street retailers will have their fingers crossed for a festive boost as shoppers take to the streets for the Boxing Day sales, while online sales are expected to rise 20 per cent year-on-year.

British consumers are set to spend £4.75bn today, with £3.71bn of that expected to come from physical sales, according to research by the Centre of Retail Research (CRR).

But mobile sales continue to encroach on the high street, as nearly 10m people will collectively spend £1.04bn online, up 20 per cent on last year, with 45 per cent spent via mobile phones.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at discount online store VoucherCodes.co.uk comments: “Boxing Day continues to be a hugely popular savings day for the high street with billions being spent on bargains, but it’s the boost in online sales that’s set to make the biggest difference this year.”

But last week, retail data firm Springboard predicted Boxing Day footfall would decline 5.2 per cent this year.

“It is going to be the worst Christmas we’ve had for a good few years, apart from when we were in the depths of recession,” Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle told City A.M.

But Anthony McGrath, retail expert at the Fashion Retail Academy, said early Boxing Day indications of long queues on the high street were “encouraging” for physical sales.

“Despite some big names starting their sales online earlier, the queues show business models...of not reducing stock until after Christmas is still a proven success,” he said.

“In an age of ever-increasing online sales, any initiatives which get consumers off the sofa and into stores has to be applauded.”

An Opinium survey indicated £1.95bn of the sales would go on clothing, footwear and accessories, responsible for 41 per cent of sales.

Meanwhile, homeware will make up 18 per cent of sales (£855m), while Christmas cards discounted for next year’s festive season account for 17 per cent (£808m), it added.

Don Williams, Retail Partner at KPMG said: “With this year’s Black Friday being a bit of a damp squib, many could be forgiven for hoping that would have benefited post-Christmas sales, including Boxing Day.

“But, for the vast majority, that is unlikely. Most will still have their work cut out to persuade shoppers who have notably been clawing back their spend.”