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Retailers poised for peak online sales this weekend

Retailers are hoping for bumper multichannel trading this weekend, as consumers hit the shops with their last pay packet before Christmas.

Experts told Drapers they expected footfall to spike this weekend following the last major payday weekend, with Monday (December 2) the high point for online sales.

Retail data company Springboard predicts the weekend will see week-on-week footfall rise 10%, while year-on-year footfall is expected to rise 4%, also buoyed by improved consumer sentiment.

Cyber Monday, the biggest day for online sales, which this year falls on December 2, is also expected to deliver an ongoing boost to the high street via click-and-collect.

Springboard’s marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “What has traditionally detracted from the high street will now help it – people have become more savvy about ordering online, and many are choosing click-and-collect to avoid problems with deliveries.”

House of Fraser, for example, is expecting its Oxford Street store to handle two click-and-collect orders per minute this weekend.

So far the runaway success item has been the festive jumper, as identified by Drapers last month as this year’s big trend.

New Look head of multichannel product and trend Sally Heath said: “Knitwear is 100% up on last year driven by Christmas jumpers and we have more searches for them than we did for onesies at this time last year, so they are officially this year’s top pick.”

John Lewis said Christmas jumper sales were 900% up on last year, and selling at double the rate of onesies.

Sales of novelty jumpers at George at Asda have soared 200% on last year, with the supermarket selling £3m worth of them in the week to November 22, when ‘Christmas jumper’ was the most searched for term on George.com. George buying director for menswear and kidswear Jonathan Tillery said: “Christmas jumpers are the onesie of 2013”, noting that knits had become “even more innovative”, including one where a customer can insert a smartphone to play a ‘moving _ replace’ app through a hole in the jumper. Tillery said the team had ordered in millions of Christmas jumpers to meet the “frenzy”.

More generally, other retailers and brands have seen sales pick up since the start of the cold weather.

David Short, country managing director for Macintosh Retail Group, which owns Brantano and Jones Bootmaker, said the footwear retailers were seeing “fantastic numbers”, with Brantano set to go on Sale six days later than last year.

Menswear brand Duck and Cover’s head of sales Gareth Jones told Drapers repeat orders were 15% up on last year, with retailers reporting improved sales, adding that further wintry weather “could be a real game changer for fashion this season.”

However, given that Christmas Day falls in midweek, experts are still anticipating a late peak to trading overall.

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