All eyes will be on Ftse 100 high street titan Next on Thursday, as the retail bellwether offer up some of the sector's first hard news on festive sales.
Retail experts said that they expect Next's internet sales to increase by as much as 15-20 per cent, which would confirm recent suggestions that shoppers are increasingly looking to buy online.
Stephen Robertson, the former British Retail Consortium director general, said: “Next is always a bit of a bellwether of how the high street has performed over Christmas as it is the first listed company to report trading figures. My guess is that we'll see that online had a very big impact on the high street.”
The retail sector is again preparing for casualties in the New Year, after a number of popular chains, including lingerie group La Senza, fell into administration at the start of 2012. HMV has already warned that it could breach banking covenants next month.