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Boxing Day sales set to plummet for third year in a row

Retailers must prepare to be “hard hit” during this year’s Boxing Day sales period, with spending expected to be down for the third year in a row, according to a new retail report by VoucherCodes.co.uk.

Its latest Shopping for Christmas 2020 report, carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, predicts that spending on Boxing Day will reach only £3.2bn, 26% lower than the year before.  

Offline sales on Boxing Day are estimated to plummet 54% to £1.5bn, with only 8.6 million shoppers expected to shop on the high street. Nonetheless, online spending is expected to grow by 56% to £1.8bn this year. 

The report said the government’s new tiering system has had a “huge impact” on the festive period’s figures. Prior to the announcement, spending was expected to reach £12.7bn in total between 26 December and 31 December.

In light of heightened restrictions, however, sales figures are now predicted to reach a total of £10.6bn in the period.

London spending is expected to be “most sharply” affected by the new restrictions due to its Tier 4 status, as well as having a high concentration of shopping centres and department stores. 

December sales in London and the South East will now only reach £2.8bn between 26 December and 31 December, having initially been expected to hit £4.4bn.

Bricks and mortar retailers will be the worst hit, having been expected to make £779m on Boxing Day prior to entering Tier 4. This is now forecast to drop 76% to just £187m.

Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers, and while this is still the case, it’s not surprising to see a decline in sales for the third year in a row, especially due to the new restrictions in place for most of the country. 

“In tiers 1, 2 and 3, retailers can continue to trade so the picture is mixed. However, the impact on spending in Scotland and Wales – which are both bringing in new lockdown measures from Boxing Day – as well as areas in England that are already in tier 4, is severe.” 

She added: “Of course, consumers can still make the most of the sales by shopping online and the outlook here does look better. For those hoping to grab a bargain, DealFinder by VoucherCodes automatically finds and supplies the best discounts while you’re shopping online and is a quick and easy way to make sure you don’t overspend.”

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