Retailers can expect a £2.3bn year-on-year sales increase during the Christmas season, according to a study conducted by Verdict.

The 2.6% year-on-year increase during the fourth quarter will take sales to £90.7bn. General merchandise will comprise £53.6bn of the total and food £37.1bn, according to Verdict.

The study forecasts that online will win £13bn of shopper spend as consumers opt for the convenience of buying online.

Click-and-collect will be a key weapon in the Christmas trading armoury, Verdict said, as more retailers promise a next-day delivery service. Click-and-collect is expected to account for 12% of total online spend at £1.6bn.

Verdict predicts the 3.2% growth within food will be driven primarily through inflation.

The study forecasts the big four are likely to have a better Christmas than the torrid time they had last year because of their strengthening online offers.

Meanwhile, health and beauty is expected to record a 3.7% increase in spend, and clothing and footwear sales will jump 3.5%.

Next’s multichannel proposition, which includes a midnight cut-off for next-day collection, will make it one of the big winners this Christmas, according to Verdict.

Electricals sales growth will be unspectacular at 2.5%, despite Christmas traditionally being a strong trading period for the sector.

The slow growth will be a result of a dip in demand for tablet computers, although that will be offset by price cuts on Xbox One and PS4 consoles increasing sales.