Spending this Christmas could fall for the first time in twenty years according to retail research firm Verdict.
Verdict forecasts that total Christmas expenditure will shrink by 0.7% in the fourth quarter - the equivalent of a £535m drop.
Clothing and footwear sales are expected to fall 0.1% to £13.6bn - a £14m fall - during the fourth quarter against the same quarter the year before.
Verdict lead analyst Maureen Hinton said: “Though women are much more nervous about spending than men – mainly because they usually have greater control and visibility of the family budget – we believe they will cut back less on principle Christmas expenditure than on peripheral spending such as restaurants, entertainment and big ticket items.”
She added: “Temporary recession fatigue will set in over Christmas and though 41% of women intend to spend less overall they will want to ensure they and their families look and feel good, eat well and have a good time.”
Verdict said that it expects Debenhams, John Lewis and other department stores to fair well over the Christmas period due to their extensive offer while Primark, Matalan and TK Maxx will fair well as a result of value-led, seasonal ranges. Marks & Spencer and Next are expected to buck the trend as they are up against weak comparatives and are trusted brand names.
Despite the recent postal strikes shoppers are still expected to spend £6.8bn this Christmas online, an increase of £837m.