After a tumultuous year, retailers are pinning their hopes on Christmas delivering a much-needed sackful of cash.
For non-food retailers, the Christmas season can make up half of their year's business; while across the retail sector as a whole, the fourth quarter accounts for about 29% of a year's revenue.
Last year, retailers suffered lacklustre yule trading in terms of sales, in part because of the icy weather, but there are glimmers of hope for 2011. UK households are expected to spend £86.5bn in the run-up to Christmas, £1.2bn more than in the fourth quarter last year.
Sales have been sliding over the course of the year, so this boost, should it materialise, would come just in time. Retailers also expect it to be the last hurrah before a long hangover early in 2012, as consumers rein in their spending once more. Better finish that champagne before the fizz goes flat.
Source: Verdict Research, BRC