Consumers set to spend a record £50 billion

THE UK is set for a bumper Christmas spend this year, despite many High Streets being impacted by heavy snow falls at the beginning of the month.

Figures from Barclays predict that a record £48.9 billion spend will be spent over the festive period, an eight per cent increase from Christmas 2009. 

The quieter High Streets earlier in the month will simply mean that they will be even busier as we draw nearer to Christmas as consumers cram in their Christmas shopping.

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The busiest day for debit card spending will be December 23, when it is predicted that over £1 billion will be spent.

ATM’s will be busiest on December 24, peaking between 11am and noon—with customers withdrawing £88 million—a rate of over £24,000 per second.

In total, a record £30 billion will be spent on debit cards throughout December.

Despite the inclement weather, most spending will still be done on the High Street, with online shopping only accounting for just over a quarter of this debit card spend.

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The majority of debit card spending will be in supermarkets (£6.4 billion) as people stock up on sprouts and Christmas

puddings for their festive feasts.

Petrol stations will account for £1.6 billion fuelling the great Christmas getaway.

An equally staggering £18 billion is expected to be withdrawn from ATMs and banks throughout December.

The December figures are also likely to be boosted by post-Christmas spending.

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Many bargain hunters are likely to make the most of the sales on the extra bank holiday days and may be encouraged to splash out on larger purchases before the end of the year to avoid paying extra when VAT increases to 20 per cent in January.

It will come as no surprise that London will be the number one city for spending in the UK.

The likes of Oxford Street and Westfield will attract over £5 billion of spending throughout December.

Birmingham and Sheffield are also likely to see significant spending with over £1 billion and £800 million respectively going through the tills in these cities.

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Dan Wass, Director of Current Accounts at Barclays said: “The early snow falls this month meant that the start of December was a little quieter on the High Street than expected.

“This is likely to put even greater pressure on retailers as we draw to the end of the Christmas countdown, with

customers being forced to do their shopping at the last minute.

“We urge customers to stay safe in busy areas and encourage them to use their debit cards rather than carrying large amounts of cash. 

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“Nearly all shops, restaurants, bars and online companies accept debit cards so it is the easiest way to get your Christmas spending done quickly and securely.

“We would remind customers to be careful to take care of their card and their PIN, especially when using their PIN in crowded places.

“Budgeting is also essential—customers can use Barclays mobile banking to keep track of their balance whilst they are out shopping.