Finished your present shopping? Me neither. I’ll be out this morning for the annual Oxford Street dash, doing my bit to help our retailers improve on one of their slowest Christmases. There’ll be no repeat of the year we bought Dad a goat in Africa. (“What’s it doing over there?”)
i’s Retail Correspondent Simon Neville tells me that shoppers have been holding back in the hope that discounting will begin before Christmas Day. The shoppers, it turns out, have won, forcing retailers to blink first. The good news for our high streets - and the three million people who work in British retail? The final first-class post before Christmas has gone. Among the stats Simon unearthed: an estimated £27,000 a second will be withdrawn from cash machines at lunchtime today. Good luck to those of you who will be braving the hordes.
I am grateful to Sir Elton John, who writes in i today, supporting our charity appeal to raise vital funds to protect the last of Africa’s elephants. Just two days are left to bid for the unique lots in our auction. For those of you who might consider donating a smaller sum, we have made it possible to pledge £5 by phone – simply text GIANTS to 78866.
A brief reminder that we publish throughout next week, except on Christmas Day itself. Monday’s i carries our first ever Giant Crossword, Tuesday’s i has the six-page Quiz of the Year as well as the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day telly. On Boxing Day we’ll feature a selection of top walks around the British Isles. Friday and Saturday will bring i’s condensed review of the year. Have a good weekend.