Shoppers pack into stores for final weekend before Christmas

By Joe Gammie, PA
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Shoppers pack into stores for final weekend before Christmas

Shoppers have hit the stores on the last weekend before Christmas in a spree which is expected to see hundreds of millions of pounds splashed out across the country.

Thousands of people packed into high streets and shopping malls on Saturday with millions of pounds expected to be spent across the whole weekend.

Oxford Street in central London was packed with shoppers, while people were splashing their cash in cities across the country including Bristol and Liverpool.

Shoppers on Oxford Street in London on the last Saturday before Christmas (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The New West End Company said that 1.7 million shoppers were expected to spend £136 million in London’s West End.

The partnership of retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners said this will be a 6% increase in footfall compared to last year – with so-called “super Saturday” set to be the busiest day of the year and footfall increasing by 12% in comparison to the previous week.

It added that this reflected positive Black Friday figures, with footfall in the West End up 8.7% year-on-year.

Shoppers in Bristol Broadmead shopping quarter on the last Saturday before Christmas (Ben Birchall/PA)

Artjom Hatsaturjants, head of insights at the New West End Company, said: “After the success of Black Friday which saw shoppers making the most of the breadth of discounts, the last weekend before Christmas is set to see 1.7 million shoppers spending £136 million across London’s West End.

“With the General Election now complete, we anticipate sales to reach their peak as the nation turn their attention to Christmas.”

In November, the New West End Company predicted that £2.5 billion was set to be spent over the eight-week Christmas trading period as hundreds of thousands of shoppers visit the area which centres around Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street.

Intu, which owns a number of shopping centres including the Metrocentre in Gateshead and the Arndale in Manchester, said its establishments were “bustling with visitors”.

Commercial director Trevor Pereira said: “With Christmas just around the corner, our centres are bustling with visitors and full of the festive spirit.

“The best shopping destinations offer a great day out experience that cannot be matched online. We’re expecting a million visitors to our centres across the UK each day, creating special memories with their loved ones.

“People are coming from far and wide and staying longer to make the most of all the shopping, leisure and festive experiences before the big day itself.”