Retailers set for biggest four shopping days of the year, MasterCard reports

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The biggest four days of the year for retailers starts on Saturday 19 December, more so than this year’s long Black Friday weekend, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. Looking at all retail sales excluding petrol, the SpendingPulse data forecasts £5.9bn will be spent over the four days, whereas 2015’s Black Friday weekend saw spending of £5.74bn. SpendingPulse measures UK retail sales across all payment types, including cards and cash.

Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, said: “The shift to shopping online is undeniable, but high streets and shopping malls still dominate with four out of five pounds spent offline. Last year, consumers left their shopping late, and we are expecting many to do the same this year, with the four days from Saturday 19 December forecast to be the biggest shopping days of the year. As we get closer to Christmas grocery shopping starts to dominate sales, but gifts of clothing and electronics can expect to see strong growth also.”

Even with the short delivery window for online shopping, e-commerce growth on last year will still be an impressive 24% over the four days (19 and 22) which is a reflection of shoppers confidence in retailers ability to deliver on time.

Looking at all of this year’s pre-Christmas shopping days, groceries will represent the majority of consumer expenditure, accounting for 55% of all money spent. Supermarkets can expect to benefit as spending on the huge food and drink sector will increase 2.8% year-on-year. Total consumer expenditure between now and Christmas Eve is forecast to grow by 6.4% on 2014.