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Christmas rush comes late and online sales rocket

The Christmas rush came late according to British Retail Consortium chief executive Kevin Hawkins, with shoppers holding off until the last moment and online sales experiencing a surge on Boxing Day said research firm SPSL.

Although the period started off slowly, Hawkins said sales will be up on last year and that retailers will have done well to beat last December’s year-on-year growth.

He added: "After a very slow start, the Christmas rush finally kicked-in in the last 10 days of shopping. But a lot of that was driven by discounting, good for customers but bad for those retailers who’ve seen their margins squeezed in a crucial month."

The claims were backed up by footfall monitor the Retail Traffic Index, published by research firm SPSL, which said that December 27th was the busiest shopping day of 2007, topping the same day in 2006.

Dr Tim Denison SPSL’s spokesman said: "The 27th December has retained its place at the top of the tree as the busiest shopping day of the year, 1.4% busier than the pre-Christmas high which occurred on Saturday 22nd December this year. Whilst we had expected this to be the case, we were still impressed that it was even busier than last year, given the somewhat up and down nature of shopper number comparatives this Christmas."

In addition online monitoring firm Hitwise said that Boxing Day was the busiest day for online retailers during the Christmas shopping season and therefore throughout the year. The firm added that there were 1.3% more UK internet visits to shopping and classifieds websites on Boxing Day than last year.

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