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Retailers await last minute christmas shoppers

With just six shopping days left until Christmas, retailers are facing a festive rush with shoppers set to snap up bargains spending £2.5m a minute in the coming week.

This weekend shoppers spent £3.5bn according to reports in The Sun. It said retail analysts predict shoppers will spend £2.5m every minute in the next six days.

Shopping centres and high streets across the country were crammed with consumers over the weekend as many bought presents in the last full weekend before Christmas. Capital Shopping Centres, which owns shopping centres including Manchester’s Trafford Centre, Gateshead’s Metrocentre and Lakeside in Thurrock, told The Daily Mail its 14 sites had been “packed” over the weekend.

John Lewis also benefitted from the legions of Christmas shoppers. In the week to December 17, John Lewis had the highest weekly trade the department store group has ever seen. Sales rose by 10.6% year on year to £133.1m, a 7.8% increase on last week. Online sales were up 42.2% year on year.

John Lewis fashion, particularly womenswear, saw an uplift in coats and outerwear helped by the colder weather. Cashmere, lingerie and nightwear also helped drive sales. Across menswear, brands including Joe Casley-Hayford and Barbour performed well.

However, December sales volumes for UK retailers will be down 1.7% compared to November and will be down 0.3% year on year, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The research group added that shoppers will spend £970m less this Christmas.

Retailers across the high street have lured consumers in with a plethora of promotions meaning that despite stores being busy, profits could be hit.

According to data from retail research agency Retailmap, cut-price goods now occupy a quarter of high street retail space, with an average discount of more than a third off. The research was compiled from a detailed study of 23 fashion retailers.

Data from research group Springboard, published in The Times today, suggested that visits to shopping centres in the week to December 14 dropped by 6.3% year on year.

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