Happy Virtual Christmas! Retailers launch online sales early
Major retailers are to launch internet sales on Christmas Eve - and earlier - in the hope of attracting millions of people expected to shop online over Christmas, it was disclosed today.
Tesco said it was starting its online sale today with offers on furniture, homeware and sports products followed by electrical items on Christmas Eve from 8pm.
John Lewis, Comet and Halfords said they would open their virtual doors on Christmas Eve, with B&Q, the home improvement and garden centre retailer, starting an online and in-store sale from Thursday.
The move comes as the online trade body IMRG said an estimated 4.3 million shoppers will go online this Christmas and spend £120 million, an average of £27.90 each.
Tesco said it expected Christmas Day to be a key time for online sales after more than a quarter of a million people logged on to Tesco Direct on Christmas Day last year to grab a bargain.
The supermarket chain said it expected these figures to increase this year.
Sainsbury's said it launches a non-food online sale tomorrow offering "fantastic" deals on items from homeware to electrical, furniture and home entertainment.
Tanya Lawler, director of Sainsbury's online, said: "This will be our very first online festive sale in non food, offering hundreds of deals across our extensive range, since we introduced non food to our online offering in July this year.
"Our deals, across our entire non food range, are ideal for customers looking to make big savings on key items over the festive period and throughout January 2010."
Asda Direct sales start today with offers on ranges including electricals, furniture and homeware.
Halfords, the cycle and car accessory retailer, said it expected Christmas Day this year to be its busiest day online.
Electrical specialist Comet predicted its website will attract a record 1,682,200 visitors over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with a surge of bargain hunters going online between 7pm and 9pm on Christmas Day.
Bill Moir, Comet head of marketing, said: "In the run-up to Christmas we've seen a rise in sales of laptops, cameras, kitchen gadgets and large screen TVs and we expect these to be some of our most popular products during the Christmas Day rush.
"With the World Cup approaching, many customers will use the opportunity to upgrade their TVs, opting for bigger screens of 40 inches and above and the latest LED technology."
Krishan Rama, spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, said there was an expectation that sales figures for December would improve after a "poor performance" last year.
He said: "There is a sense that some people are feeling more confident than this time last year because they think maybe the worst is over - but then 2010 has many uncertainties.
"We don't know who is going to form the next Government and we don't know what is going to happen to Government spending and taxation and what will happen to unemployment.
"So all these factors will have to be considered."
Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, the online marketing company, said: "Last year Christmas Day was the seventh busiest online day of the year for online retailers, while Boxing Day was the busiest.
"Over the last few years the importance of these two days has been increasing, and we see no reason for it to be any different this Christmas.
"We have already seen that shoppers are willing to hold out longer for a bargain this year, with 'Cyber Monday' moving a week closer to Christmas.
"This behaviour is likely to carry through to the post-Christmas period, with people logging on after Christmas lunch to find the best discounts before hitting the high street and shopping malls the following day."
Meanwhile, retailers said they were hopeful that Boxing Day - falling on a Saturday this year - will be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Selfridges said it would be opening its doors to bargain-savvy crowds on Oxford Street in central London at 9am on Boxing Day with its regional stores in Birmingham and Manchester also open on that day from 8am.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
iJobs Money & Business
£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...
£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...
Day In a Page
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar