Consumers aim for Christmas cheer on the cheap

Britons are on an economy drive this Christmas, according to a survey from price-comparison service uSwitch.com. Six in 10 people quizzed said they will be cutting back, spending less on presents, food, cards and alcohol in an attempt to save money.

Brits will downgrade their dinner, with around a third (32 per cent) buying own-brand and a fifth (21 per cent) filling their baskets with value items. Almost four in 10 (37 per cent) will shop in cheaper supermarkets. Gifts will also be hit, with people hoping to save almost £70 on average, with over a fifth (22 per cent) wanting to cut spending by at least £100.

"Cash-strapped consumers face a dilemma. Another year of squeezed finances means they either have to tighten their belts at the expense of Christmas cheer, or they face a struggle to afford a good Christmas, which can take the joy out of it," says Ann Robinson, uSwitch's director of consumer policy. "From the looks of it, this Christmas will be a much leaner one, which could spell trouble for retailers."

With shops quiet, in part due to the unseasonably warm weather in many parts of the UK, it is expected that retailers will be bringing their sale dates forward to before Christmas.

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