Friday shoppers flex muscles in race to grab Christmas groceries

Turkeys, Brussels sprouts and mince pies are set to fly off supermarket shelves on "Frenzied Friday" as shoppers buy their groceries for Christmas.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 23rd December 2016, 8:38 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 1:58 pm
Will you be hitting the shops today? Picture: Pixabay
Will you be hitting the shops today? Picture: Pixabay

It comes as struggling retailers could be about to suffer a sorry Christmas Eve as figures suggest consumers will spend significantly less than last year on one of the calendar's busiest shopping days.

Shoppers will spend £726 million on Christmas Eve this year, according to Sainsbury's Bank credit cards - a significant drop from last year's poll in which consumers said they expected to splash out £1.4 billion.

Supermarkets expect their busiest shopping day to be Friday - dubbed "Frenzied Friday", and the Westfield mall in west London also predicts footfall will hit a peak of more than 300,000 people ahead of the weekend.

Tesco said Friday would be its busiest day of the year with over 10 million customers visiting its stores across the UK, and at the busiest point the supermarket will serve around 15,000 customers per minute.

The retailer said it will sell around a third of its Christmas turkeys on Friday - with nearly 200,000 customers buying their turkey crowns and birds, and over 10 million pigs in blankets will also be sold.

Customers were expected to buy 40 million Brussels sprouts across Thursday and Friday, and the supermarket said it will also sell around 3.5 million packs of carrots - which works out at around 27 million carrots.

But the Sainsbury's poll found that Christmas shoppers' total spending over this week will reach just £191 each, significantly down from last year's £272.

But in contrast, Westfield said this year "boasts the added benefit of Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday" in what it hoped would allow for "two Super Saturdays".

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer at Westfield UK and Europe, said: "With Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, December 24 is expected to be a second Super Saturday for Britain's retailers.

"Last year, the pre-Christmas Super Saturday was one of our busiest shopping days of the year, with close to 300,000 people passing through the doors of our London centres.

"December 23 has also become our biggest Christmas shopping day with over 300,000 visiting Westfield in 2015 and we expect similar numbers again this year."

Meanwhile, post-Christmas shoppers are predicted to go on a £3.85 billion bargain hunt on Boxing Day, spending £2.95 billion on the high street and another £900 million online, according to and the Centre for Retail Research.

Shoppers are expected to spend £7.6 billion between Boxing Day and December 29, with 67% of this going into high street tills.

Analysts Springboard said retail footfall had decreased by 7.7% year on year for the week to date.

It said retailers were "holding their breath" for shoppers to make a last dash to stores for a late boost ahead of post-Christmas sales.