Retail sales are forecast to rise by 4% year-on-year this December, with consumers expected to spend £42.8bn – £1.6bn more than last Christmas.
According to analysis from business advisory firm, Deloitte, retailers are likely to benefit from the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, meaning the last full day of shopping for last-minute consumers will be on a Saturday. Similarly, retailers could profit from Boxing Day falling on a Monday, meaning a full day of trading hours.
Significantly, online retail sales are expected to grow by more than a fifth (21%) from 2015, with values likely to surpass £7bn for the first time, a considerable increase from £5.8bn last year. As a result, December’s online retail sales will account for three-quarters (74%) of total retail sales growth year-on-year.
Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, comments: “Retailers can expect to receive more than a lump of coal in their stockings this Christmas. Sales prospects for the golden quarter are looking good for the UK retail industry, who will feel an uplift following last year’s disappointing November and December.
“Events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have dragged forward consumers’ Christmas spending into the end of November. However, there are a number of other factors present that will give a boost to retail sales over the festive period. Christmas on a Sunday will maximise the opportunity for consumers to grab a bargain in the sales that follow.”
In addition, Deloitte says the value of sterling means that consumers are more likely to stay in the UK during the Christmas break. At the same time, tourists’ buying power is greater, and consumers have already seen the effects of this, particularly in the luxury sector.