UK retailers face quiet Boxing Day amid cost of living crisis | retail industry | Daily News Byte


Retailers are bracing for a quiet Boxing Day this year despite the exemption from pandemic restrictions as the cost of the life crisis weighs on shoppers’ budgets.

Spending is expected to reach around £3.8bn on 26 December, according to research by GlobalData for VoucherCodes.

That’s down nearly 4% on last year, which was already tough for retailers due to fears of the omicron variant of Covid-19, which has put some people off the high street and banned stores from opening in some areas.

That income figure represents a big drop in the volume of items purchased, although inflation is running above 10%, 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, where £1.25bn will be spent.

Adding to the traditional post-Christmas shopping frenzy is the fact that multiple major chains – including Aldi, Iceland, John Lewis, Pets at Home, Poundland and Beaverbrooks – will be closed on Boxing Day. Many are carrying on 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 of Iceland Foods, said: “It has affected everyone this year, so to officially close our doors on Boxing Day is a small token of appreciation for our employees.

“As we move into the winter months, the cost of living will unfortunately intensify, and as we work tirelessly to save and support our customers, we must also look after our teams who are on the front lines of this crisis every day. across the UK.”

The expected drop in Boxing Day trade compared to last year continues a long decline in the popularity of the annual shopping tradition, as the rise of the US-inspired November discount day Black Friday coincides with a move towards the start of year-end sales before Christmas Day. To steal his thunder.

Purchase numbers

This year, a total of £1.08bn is expected to be spent online on Christmas Day, for example, when almost nothing was bought as stores closed long ago, although this is also a 4% drop in 2021.

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

“The combination of Black Friday and the huge volume of discounts we’ve had across the industry has driven those potential Boxing Day sales,” said Retail Economics analyst Richard Lim.

However, Lim added that for those looking for a bargain, retailers are likely to heavily discount in an attempt to clear stocks that were ordered earlier in the year when “conditions looked better”.

“The Boxing Day and January [price cuts] will be deeper and more widespread than usual as retailers will be desperate to shore up undisclosed stocks and balance sheets in cash as they head into 2023 with a tough recession.”

He suggested that shops were likely to be busier than expected due to a combination of deep discounts and pent-up demand due to a combination of strikes and snow ahead of Christmas.

However, an expected rocky start to post-Christmas sales will put more pressure on retailers already suffering from transport and postal strikes, snow and rising bills for energy and food, with limited spare cash to spend on gifts and treats. .


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