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Christmas will come says Deloitte

More than half of UK consumers will spend as much this Christmas as they did last year, defying the economic downturn, according to a survey by Deloitte.

According to Deloitte's 14th annual Christmas Retail Survey, 57% of shoppers will spend the same amount this year compared to last Christmas, with just 24% saying they will spend less and 19% claiming they will spend more.

However Deloitte calculated that the overall average spend this Christmas would be £655, which is down 7% on last Christmas.

Supermarkets are expected to come out on top, with 66% of shoppers saying they will use supermarkets for their Christmas gift shopping, compared to 52% last year.

The survey added that both retailers and consumers are cautious about 2009, with 83% of retailers and 64% of shoppers claiming economic conditions in the UK will deteriorate further.

Tarlok Teji, head of retail at Deloitte, said: "Although this Christmas may be one of the toughest in decades, retailers have been toughing it out for most of the year. We think the talk of Christmas being cancelled is overplayed."

He added: "Whilst total planned spend including socialising may be down, the majority of consumers intend to spend the same as last year. Retailers will need to understand their consumers better than ever and offer relevant products to take a share of the Christmas wallet."

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