UK retailers face quiet Boxing Day amid cost of living crisis | Retail

Retailers are bracing for a quieter Boxing Day this year, albeit unencumbered by pandemic restrictions, as the cost of living crisis weighs on shoppers’ budgets.

According to research by GlobalData for Vouchercodes, spending on December 26 is expected to hit almost £3.8bn.

That’s down almost 4 per cent on last year, and it’s already been tough for retailers amid fears of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which has kept some off the high street and led to limited store openings in some areas.

Given an inflation rate of more than 10%, this revenue figure indicates that the number of items purchased has dropped significantly, so shoppers will spend more per purchase. More than a third of this year’s Boxing Day bargain hunting is expected to take place online, costing £1.25bn.

Adding to the traditional post-Christmas shopping frenzy, a number of big chains will close on Boxing Day, including Aldi, Iceland, John Lewis, Pets at Home, Poundland and Beaverbrooks. Many companies have continued a tradition that began during the pandemic, and in some cases even earlier, of rewarding hard-working employees with a day off after the busy holiday shopping season.

Richard Walker, Managing Director, Iceland Foods, He said: “This year has had an impact on everyone so officially closing on Boxing Day is just a small thank you to our staff.

“As we head into winter, the cost of living will unfortunately only intensify and while we work tirelessly to save money and support our customers, we must also look after the teams who are at the forefront of this crisis every day across the UK.”

The expected drop in Boxing Day deals compared to last year continues a long-term decline in the annual shopping tradition’s popularity as the rise of the US-inspired discount day Black Friday in November combines with the trend of year-end sales starting before Christmas to steal its limelight.

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Total online spending on Christmas Day this year, for example, is expected to reach £1.08bn, while not so long ago there was almost nothing to buy as shops were closed, although this is also down 4% on 2021.

As Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, there will be an extra bank holiday when shops open – Tuesday 27 December – meaning bargain buying can be spread over more days, further diluting the importance of 26 December for earnings. sex.

“The combination of Black Friday and the fixed amount of discounts we’re getting across the industry has brought potential Boxing Day sales a lot earlier,” said Retail Economics analyst Richard Lim.

However, for those looking for a bargain, retailers may discount heavily to clear stocks ordered earlier in the year when “things were looking more rosy,” Lim added.

“Boxing Day and January [price cuts] It will be deeper and wider than normal, as retailers will be desperate to turn inventory into cash and shore up balance sheets as we sink into the depths of a recession in 2023. “

He said stores were likely to be busier than expected due to a combination of steep discounts and pent-up demand from pre-Christmas strikes and snow.

However, a tough start to post-Christmas sales is expected to put further pressure on retailers already hit by a winter slump from transport and postal strikes, heavy snowfall and soaring energy and food costs, all of which use There is limited spare money for buying gifts and snacks.

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