Will Frenzied Friday and Super Saturday boost the retail shortfall?

John Lewis

As we head into the last weekend before Christmas, shoppers are set to spend £2.5million every minute from today, Friday December 18. Total spending today – Frenzied Friday – is forecast to hit £1.55billion will go even higher tomorrow.

Despite warnings about Covid, lockdown and more restrictive tiers, some 42million shop visits are predicated, with some stores opening around the clock and others opening earlier than usual and staying open later.

Non-essential shops will remain open in England, even under the tougher restrictions, while Wales and Northern Ireland face some closures, including of garden centres, over the next few weeks.

This is expected to be the busiest shopping weekend of the year, but retailers have been told to limit the amount of people who enter stores at any given time. The Centre for Retail Research estimates spending across stores and websites will peak tomorrow on ‘Super Saturday’.

A Christmas spending study commissioned by VoucherCodes.co.uk, found that: ‘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.’

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.

Overall high street footfall is down 1.6 per cent on last week and 40 per cent on the same period last year. All areas in the country have seen visitors fall, with London’s dropping by 4.4 per cent and 64.8 per cent respectively. Shoppers in market towns have plummeted by 10 per cent on last week and 31.8 per cent on 2019, while coastal towns have seen tourists decline by 3.5 per cent on last week and 24.8 per cent based on last year’s figures.

Spending this weekend is predicted to hit £800million on Sunday December 20 before rising again 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 in a bid to entice shoppers and grab a share of the festive spending blitz.

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.

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