Analysis: Will Christmas cheer beat festive fear as election looms?

Selfridges Christmas

The golden quarter is underway against a backdrop of worrying predictions on consumer spending, Brexit chaos and a possible general election. Retail Week looks at the industry’s prospects at this crucial time of year.

Consumer spending is anticipated to increase by 0.8% over Christmas this year – defined as the six weeks until the end of December. The rise will only amount to 0.2% in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a study by the Centre for Retail Research. Both figures are lower than last year’s 1.2% advance.

Wages are growing faster than inflation, observes KPMG head of retail Paul Martin, so “technically” that should mean people have more money to spend.

But jitters about the outlook – Brexit in particular – mean that “psychologically people are more cautious” about spending, says Martin. 

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