Shoppers are set to spend £2.5million every MINUTE from today

Friday Frenzy: Shoppers are set to spend £2.5million every MINUTE from today as four-day buying blitz begins in desperate dash for gifts before Christmas

  • Total spending today – dubbed Frenzied Friday – is predicted to hit £1.55billion and peak tomorrow
  • Pictures taken in London’s West End shoppers rushing to make Christmas purchases in run up to big day 
  • Hundreds of shoppers in Liverpool lined up outside Size? trainer store ahead of its opening to buy shoes 
  • Crowds far sparser than normal for the festive season, as many people stayed away due to the pandemic

Christmas shoppers have shunned Boris Johnson’s stay at home warnings and hit the high streets today with experts predicting the UK’s tills will ring with a staggering £2.5million-a-minute on Christmas purchases over the next four days.

And total spending today – dubbed Frenzied Friday – is predicted to hit £1.55billion, up by 19 per cent on the equivalent day last year, despite the dreaded coronavirus crisis trashing the festive season.

Shoppers got into the festive spirit in London, Liverpool, Newcastle and other UK towns and cities with every Briton expected to spend £480 on presents this year.  

A total of £5.3billion is set to be spent in high streets and online as families rush to complete festive purchases. Up to 42million shop visits are expected as some stores open around the clock from 8am today while others extend trading hours. 

The last weekend before Christmas will be the busiest so far this year on high streets with experts expecting a shoppers’ crush despite coronavirus restrictions.

Retailers have been told they must limit the number of people allowed into shops at any one time to prevent a super-spreader event. They are extending trading hours and introducing shop-by-appointment systems. The Centre for Retail Research estimates spending across stores and websites will peak tomorrow on ‘Super Saturday’.

Queues were around the block outside the central London  Ted Baker and Karen Millen stores this morning as consumers prepared to spend £2.5m per minute

Shoppers got into the festive spirit in London, Liverpool, Newcastle and other UK towns and cities with every Briton expected to spend £480 on presents this year

Masked shoppers braved the rain and Covid-19 warnings on the first of four big Christmas shopping days in the UK

UK retail sales volumes declined in November as stores were forced to temporarily close during England’s second national lockdown, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes fell 3.8% last month compared with October.

However, the ONS said overall sales remained above pre-pandemic levels amid continued strong growth in online sales.

It was above the expectations of analysts, who had forecast a 4.1% slump in retail sales for month.

Lower clothing sales were a significant factor contributing to the slump, the ONS said, tumbling by 19% compared with the previous month.

In November, food and household goods were the only sectors to show growth in monthly volume of sales, with improvements of 3.1% and 1.6% respectively as stores remained open due to essential status.

The ONS said retailers suggested that food sales in November were boosted by restrictions to hospitality operators such as bars and restaurants.

Online sales continued to surge as consumers completed Christmas shopping digitally while stores were shut, with online sales 74.7% higher than the same month last year.

Its Christmas spending study, commissioned by VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: ‘Super Saturday is set to be the peak trading day in December for stores in the lead-up to Christmas with 11.5million shoppers.

‘It is predicted footfall will be up 12 per cent in comparison to 2019. Despite this, forecasts predict that £1.65billion will be spent – £1.4billion offline and £250million online – which is 3 per cent less than in 2019.’ Spending is predicted to hit £800million on Sunday before rising to £1.3billion on Monday, giving a total four-day figure of £5.3billion. Retailers, both on the high street and online, have been running sales for weeks – with savings of more than 50 per cent – in a bid to grab a share of crucial festive spending. Diane Wehrle, of market research firm Springboard, said: ‘The extension of opening hours is certainly a good idea as it enables shoppers to visit stores when it is quieter.

‘However, footfall between 9am and 6pm accounts for 88 per cent of the total.’

Eleven Primark stores will open through the night, while JD Sports and Footasylum are doing the same with some shops.

John Lewis, Next, Debenhams and House of Fraser will be trading for record numbers of hours, with many shops remaining open until 9pm. Boots and toy chain The Entertainer will have some outlets open until 10pm. Top shopping centres, such as the two Westfield complexes in London, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Meadowhall in Sheffield, will have late opening.

From Monday, Marks & Spencer will open 400 stores until midnight up to December 23.

Police were today called to break up crowds outside a trainer store in Liverpool as hundreds queued to buy newly released shoes ahead of an anticipated £5.2billion four-day spending frenzy starting tomorrow. 

Around 400 eager shoppers gathered outside Size? on Bold Street in anticipation of the release of the Nike Air Max 95 OG Neon trainers, with some even camping through the night to secure the £130 shoes.

The size of the crowd led to Merseyside Police being called to disperse gathering Britons ahead of the retailer’s scheduled opening on Thursday, and the shop was later closed to customers. 

A force spokesperson told the Mirror: ‘We can confirm officers attended a shop in Liverpool city centre this morning (Thursday 17 December) to a report of a large gathering outside.

‘We were called just after 7.05am to a report a crowd had gathered outside Size on Bold Street ahead of its scheduled opening. After opening, staff at the store secured the doors to prevent further customers entering.

‘Officers attended and gave advice to staff, and asked those gathered outside to leave.’The shop subsequently closed and those gathered outside moved on.’

Swathes of shoppers also lined up around the block in London’s West End today, with pictures taken on Bond Street showing crowds rushing to make their Christmas purchases – including dozens waiting patiently outside luxury designer Hermes. 

The retail bonanza all got a bit too much for some, who let off steam with a takeaway pint – newly returned to the capital since sitting inside pubs was banned under Tier 3 rules.

Non-essential shops remain open even under the tougher rules, meaning the high street should be able to capitalise on some of the spending splurge even if much will go online. 

However, the West End crowds were far sparser than normal for the festive season, as many people stayed away due to the pandemic.  

Crowds of shoppers were dispersed yesterday after hundreds of people queued up outside Size? on Bold Street, Liverpool

Pictures taken on Bond Street today showed thousands of shoppers rushing to make their final Christmas purchases – including dozens waiting patiently outside luxury designer Hermes (pictured) 

The latest footfall figures from Springboard found shopping centres had seen a 2.8 per cent increase in visitors on last week – but a 33 per cent drop on the same time last year.

Retail parks had also seen a relative boost, surging by 1.3 per cent on last week despite declining by 11.8 per cent on 2019.

But the beleaguered British High Street continues to struggle despite the Christmas rush, with footfall falling by 1.6 per cent on last week and 40 per cent on last year.

All areas in the country have seen visitors fall on last week and last year, with London’s dropping by 4.4 per cent and 64.8 per cent respectively. 

People in market towns have plummeted by 10 per cent on last week and 31.8 per cent on 2019.

Meanwhile coastal towns have also seen tourists decline by 3.5 per cent on last week and 24.8 per cent based on last year’s figures.

But in a boost for businesses, research by VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research found £2.5million will be spent in store every minute.

On what has been dubbed ‘frenzied Friday’ Britons are estimated to spend £1.55billion – £1.1billion in store and £450million online – a 19 per cent surge on 2019.

Trading is expected to peak for December on ‘super Saturday’ as 11.5million descend on the beleaguered High Street.

Non-essential shops remain open even under the tougher rules, meaning the high street should be able to capitalise on some of the spending splurge even if much will go online

Shoppers queuing around the block to get into the Hermes store on Bond Street. In the background is the Coach and Horses, a Greene King pub 

Footfall is predicted to leap by 12 per cent compared to last year but the total spent is expected to be 3 per cent less than in 2019.

London is expected to lead the charge for money spent, racking up a total of £504million on Friday and Saturday, closely followed by the South East spending £485million.

Sunday is also expected to see a huge amount of money exchange hands – £850million by 8.5million shoppers – but it is down eight per cent on last year.

On Monday, with just four days until December 25, the High Street is expected to welcome 11million customers spending a total of £1.3billion, which represents a 0.8 per cent rise on 2019.

Retail stores and supermarkets are expected to be especially busy this year due to most online retailers no longer being able to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas.

Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk Anita Naik said: ‘The last full week before Christmas is always a busy period for retailers both offline and online.

‘After a difficult year for the high street, it’s encouraging to see spend is predicted to hit £2.5m in-store every minute.’

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