Lunch hour shoppers in ‘last dash’


Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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High street retailers are braced for their busiest day as shoppers make a last dash before Christmas.

Visa Europe expects some £1.3 billion to be spent using its cards today, making it the busiest day on the UK high street in the run-up to Christmas.

Some £916,667 will be spent every minute, or £15,278 every second, on Visa cards, the company predicts.

The peak time will be in the lunch hour break from 1pm to 2pm.

The new retail ombudsman, who takes up his role on January 2, urged shoppers to be “savvy” to avoid issues such as faulty goods, unwanted presents and delivery issues.

The ombudsman, consumer barrister Dean Dunham, said: “Before you complete your purchase ask the retailer what their returns policy is with Christmas presents, always ask for a gift receipt and if you are ordering online ask the retailer to confirm in writing when the goods will arrive.”

Kevin Jenkins, managing director at Visa Europe, said: “Black Friday kick-started Christmas on the high street and online this year but the busiest bricks and mortar day will likely remain in its traditional slot close to Christmas.

“Retailers’ multi-channel approach should cause a surge in footfall from click-and-collect sales too, with the opportunity for further shopping in-store when consumers arrive.

“We are likely to see £1.3 billion spent in total today. Lunch hour should prove the most popular time for a shopping trip, either for last-minute gifts or final ingredients for Christmas dinner.”

Thirty-four million transactions are expected to take place which is 7% higher than in 2013, while spending is predicted to rise 6%.

Superdrug buying director Simon Comins said: “It’s an old cliche that still rings true, many men are utterly disorganised when it comes to gift buying. We see more men in our stores in the run up to Christmas than any other time of the year.

“What we like to call ‘last minute men’ often leave their shopping to the very last minute. On Christmas Eve alone we expect to sell 200,000 bottles of perfume and fragrance gifts.”

This weekend saw over 800,000 people visit Westfield centres in London and shopping hours have been extended until midnight tonight to allow more last-minute shoppers the chance to purchase presents.

Retail analysts Springboard say today should be the busiest shopping day of the year, but they expect an overall drop in footfall year-on-year on Christmas Eve.

Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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