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As TV campaigns start

Christmas shopping starts early amid supply fears

Marks & Spencer is among the retailers to begin Christmas TV advertising

Shoppers have begun their Christmas shopping early, heading to high streets and retail parks in greater numbers amid ongoing concerns over supply shortages.

Marks & Spencer has said nearly half of customers expect to have finished gift shopping by the end of November.

A spokeswoman for John Lewis Group, which includes Waitrose, said customers were “making plans and getting ready earlier than normal”.

She said that “after last year” customers were “keen to enjoy the festivities as much as possible this year”.

The two retailers, along with TK Maxx launched their Christmas television advertising campaigns earlier this year.

Retail expert Steve Dresser of Grocery Insight said people were “spooked about shortages of stock”.

October shop footfall was higher than in September, according to the British Retail Consortium, though this would be expected in the run-up to the festive season.

Scottish footfall rose 2.7% month-on-month, but was 17% lower than October 2019. This is below the UK average decline of 13.7% (Yo2Y). For the third consecutive month, Scotland saw the deepest decline in footfall of all UK regions except for London.

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Shopping Centre rose from September but is down by 26.3% on two years ago.

The fall in footfall compared to 2019 has been offset by the rise in online shopping, although this has declined since it peaked during the height of the Covid pandemic.

UK footfall was ahead of Spain, Germany, Italy and France, according to BRC data.

David Lonsdale, director at the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:  “Retailers can finally spot a chink of light after a couple of dismal years as Scots started their Christmas purchases in October by rediscovering the pleasure of in-person shopping.

“Visits to retail destinations witnessed a welcome, if unspectacular, improvement after plateauing over recent months.

“Six months on from the end of lockdown closures, and two months on from the removal of most in-store restrictions, footfall reached its highest levels of the year compared to before the pandemic.

“The improvement was felt across all retail destinations, although the recovery in Scottish footfall remains protracted and continues to lag every other part of the UK other than London.

“This renewed level of physical shopping will lift retailers’ spirits in the most critical trading period of the year for many. It comes days after the positive news that Scottish Ministers will not progress plans to close shops on New Year’s Day.”



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