West End sees ‘biggest spending weekend’ as Christmas nears

09:56 23 December 2012

Shoppers braved the wind and rain to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Shoppers braved the wind and rain to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Christmas shoppers are expected to take up their final opportunity to pick up food and last-minute presents in time for the big day.

Yesterday is expected to have become the busiest day of the year on London’s high streets.

Sainsbury’s has recruited an extra 20,000 staff and sent 2,000 office workers to the shop floor to help meet demand this weekend.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “December 23 is always the busiest day for Christmas shopping, so to have it condensed into six hours will obviously pose challenges.”

Sainsbury’s expects to sell 225,000 bottles of champagne this weekend, and this Christmas will sell 90,000 turkeys, half a million kilograms of Christmas cheese, 6,500 tonnes of potatoes and 52 million sprouts.

Consumers are predicted to spend up to £5 billion over the course of the weekend as many retailers opened their doors until 11pm.

Crowds flocked to London’s West End braving wet and blustery conditions to make the most of early sales and discounts.

Streets were teeming with people in the capital - where Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street were among the busiest hotspots - and queues built up outside some shops before they opened their doors.

The British Retail Consortium said yesterday would be the busier of the two days - primarily because of longer opening hours.

Spokesman Richard Dodd said: “There is no question that this will be the biggest spending weekend in the run-up to Christmas and therefore the biggest retail weekend.

“It’s been a slow start for retailers because, whilst shopper numbers have been building week by week, they have been consistently down on 12 months ago.”

But at Brent Cross shopping centre in north London, bosses said sales were likely to be bigger than ever before.

Centre manager Tom Nathan said: “With Christmas falling on Tuesday this year, and with schools breaking up late this year, this weekend is set to be the busiest shopping period, as more people leave their shopping later and later to buy gifts.

“These four days are predicted to be enormous for us in terms of sales - bigger than it’s ever been.”

But the Local Government Association (LGA) said confidence on the high street remained low.

Its annual Christmas survey found that 84 per cent of town centre managers said confidence among shoppers had either not improved or worsened compared with this time last year.

The LGA suggested that the particularly cold and wet start to the winter could also be taking its toll on the number of shoppers visiting town centres.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Monday, March 2, 2015
The scene at St Pancras station following the death of a person on the Eurostar track (Pic: @VinnieLo)

There are severe delays and cancellations on the Eurostar today after a person was killed on the tracks in Kent.

Monday, March 2, 2015
Andrew Whitehead, 22, relieved himself onto the head of a London paramedic while she treated a patient in Shoreditch  (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

A Shoreditch man laughed as he exposed himself while urinating onto the head of a paramedic and the patient she was treating.

Monday, March 2, 2015
The scaffolding collapsed on to the bus in Peckham (Pic: @GDCharles)

An investigation is underway after scaffolding collapsed onto a double decker bus today in Peckham.

Monday, March 2, 2015
Danny Dyer and Katie Hopkins went head to head on Twitter after she trolled him

EastEnders actor and all-round geezer Danny Dyer did not back down when Katie Hopkins started trolling him on Twitter today.

Monday, March 2, 2015
Foxtons are opening in Walthamstow on March 14

Foxtons are due to open their first Walthamstow office in Hoe Street on March 14.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Sunderland have suspended Johnson pending the police investigation’s outcome.

Read more

A man and woman arrested on suspicion of kidnapping the teenager on Saturday have been further arrested.

Read more

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has stolen the UK’s number one spot from Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Sunderland have suspended Johnson pending the police investigation’s outcome.

A man and woman arrested on suspicion of kidnapping the teenager on Saturday have been further arrested.

At this rate the whole Welsh coast looks set to become one giant tidal power station.

Quirky London