Thirteen million shoppers across the UK are expected to flood into stores for their eleventh-hour Panic Saturday, which falls on the last weekend before Christmas. There is a mad rush to grab last-minute festive discounts.
More than £500 million in savings are up for grabs, with some retailers offering discounts of 70% and 75%.
Consumers are expected to spend about £1.5 billion during the 17-hour frenzy. According to Visa Europe, British shoppers spent £1.1billion on Panic Saturday last year. Analysts believe sales will easily beat Black Friday’s.
The panic is exacerbated because consumers know there is probably not enough time now to make online purchases and expect them to arrive by Christmas, especially after the giant backlog of orders delivery companies have been struggling with since Black Friday.
Retailers nationwide have had to hire additional security after having to face the chaos on Black Friday. Long queues were reported in several stores, which opened at 7am on Saturday and close at midnight.
With Panic Saturday, Cyber Monday, Manic Monday and Black Friday, Brits have gone shopping mad.
British Retail Consortium economist Richard Lim predicts Panic Saturday will be the highest spending day of 2014. “There are high levels of promotional activity and this always helps to stimulate spending,” he said.
High-street pharmacy Boots has slashed the prices on some of its finest scented products by up to 60%, while department store chain Debenhams is offering 50% discounts. Several beauty products at Marks & Spencer have “50% off” stickers on them.
Managing Director of Worldpay UK Dave Hobday described the department stores as “magnets for shoppers”. He believes millions will be forced go out for last-minute purchases despite the expected crowds. “Many of these 11th-hour shoppers will be breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of heading to the high street on the busiest shopping day of the year and praying for someone to take the pain away.”
Department stores expect sales to double this weekend, with shops in the North of England posting the highest increases on Panic Saturday.
Analysts predict a 7% to 8% increase in spending over the seven-day period before Christmas in the UK this year compared to the same period in 2013.
The Trussel Trust reminds Brits that 13 million people across the country who live in poverty will struggle. The provider of emergency rations expects its busiest Christmas ever. One million people rely on food banks. Donate to the Trussel Trust.