UK retailers are set for a “stellar” weekend as shoppers rush to complete their Christmas shopping, with more consumers leaving gift buying to the last minute, analyst figures show.

According to GlobalData, retailers should expect a flurry of last minute shoppers rushing to finish the last of their gift purchasing this weekend, both on the high street and online.

The purchase of gifts for adults has been one of the key categories impacted by this, with completion levels tracking below previous years since the week commencing 6 December, says GlobalData. Consumers have held off spending on gifting for a number of reasons, most importantly because of retailers’ decision to heavily discount before Christmas.

More retailers than ever chose to participate in Black Friday this year, with British fashion retailer Next Plc announcing that it would be partaking for the first time after a tough couple of months. “Furthermore, ‘Boxing Day’ sales have started earlier despite that this discounting will further erode profit margins and may encourage shoppers to wait even longer in the coming years as they expect prices to fall further closer to Christmas day and therefore will become reluctant to purchase gifts full price,” says GlobalData.

In the final weekend before Christmas, retailers should expect to see an influx in spend from shoppers who have held off purchasing both online and instore. “Unlike in 2016, this year consumers have a full weekend before Christmas to shop, allowing those working up to the last minute to still have time to visit the shops,” says the firm.

Meanwhile, this year retailers are offering improved online delivery options, with UK department store group John Lewis for example, having extended its Click & Collect service by an additional 24 hours, driving incremental online sales. 

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By GlobalData