Consumers will spend £47bn this Christmas


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The Independent Online

A record £31.9bn is predicted to be spent on debit cards this festive season while a further £14.9bn of cash will be withdrawn from ATMs.

More than 15 million adults plan to shop today and spend an average of £196 each, although yesterday was reckoned to be the busiest day for cash withdrawals, with more than £1bn handed out.

One in four people say today's shopping trip will be for the final few items while another quarter say they are just starting their Christmas shopping, or still have the bulk of presents to buy.

Perhaps a little keenly, one in 20 people claims they will fight through the Christmas shopping throngs today "to revel in the festive spirit".

New figures from Barclays predict that £47bn will be spent on debit cards by the end of December.

The bank expects Christmas consumer spending to climb 2.8 per cent compared to last year, suggesting hard-pressed folk are forgetting their financial woes and storing up trouble for a financial hangover in the New Year.

"Despite another tough year, we expect consumers to be out in force this weekend, picking up last-minute gifts, food and decorations or simply soaking up the festive spirit, in preparation for Christmas," said Catherine McGrath of Barclays.

But Barclaycard's Chris Wood said shoppers are being sensible. "We continue to see shoppers practice fiscal responsibility by shifting more shopping online and waiting for discount days."

Supermarkets are set to rake in £5.6bn over the festive season, while £1.4bn is predicted to be spent on clothing and £740m at department stores. A further £890m is predicted to be blown at restaurants.

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