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10 million shivering shoppers to hit malls and high streets

Up to 10 million shoppers are expected to hit the UK’s malls and high streets today in a last desperate attempt to get stocked up for the Christmas festivities before the weather closes in again – if they aren’t snowed in already!

High street names have launched their sales early to make up for huge falls in pre-Christmas turnover caused by the appalling weather over the last several weeks. Shop windows are being loaded out with promotions and special offers and major chains such as B&Q, Laura Ashley, French Connection and Gap are promising 75 per cent discounts on a huge range of goods and fashion items.

Sunday opening hours will be extended and many stores are planning 24 hour opening in the last few days before the holiday. More than 800 supermarket branches will be trading round the clock and weather-dependent late opening will be on offer at thousands of outlets.

The last week of trading before the Christmas break is a crucial time for retailers,
both for turnover and for clearing stock in time for the January sales. This year, the schedule has been turned on its head, with shoppers unable to get to stores and shopping centres and deliveries unable to get through.

The understanding that the 2010 Christmas shopping season was likely to prove tricky due to the recession has been compounded by the worst weather for 30 or more years. Potential customers unable to reach shopping centres have been spending their money online instead, with many now facing the prospect of their purchases not arriving until after the festive season ends.

Richard Harman, retail advisor at accountancy firm Deloitte, states the’ weather is not doing the retail sector any favours, coming as it had at a very challenging and difficult time’.

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