Christmas spending set to be modestly higher than last year

CHRISTMAS spending this year is forecast to rise to nearly £50bn, increasing by just more than inflation from last year’s level.

Barclays reveal today that they believe spending will rise to £47bn over Christmas, an increase of 2.8 per cent on last year. Previous research from the bank has suggested that online sales will dominate the market.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday reveal that spending only rose by 0.2 per cent between October and November, a 2.7 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.

An increasing portion of this spending is now dominated by online sales, limiting high street retailers’ ability to capitalise from looser consumer spending.

In November, 11.9 per cent of transactions were carried out on the internet, another record level, up 15.1 per cent from the same time last year.

Capital Economics’ Martin Beck added: “For retailers, 2013 may be on course to end with more of a whimper than a bang.”