Christmas sales are expected to rise marginally this year as grocery and health and beauty items drive purchases.

As the festive season fast approaches Mintel predicts that total UK retail sales will grow 2.5% in December to reach £42.2bn.

The proportion of etail purchases is also expected to rise as 20% of customers buy their gifts online this festive season.

While Christmas sales are expected to improve year-on-year, the increase is expected to be minimal.

According to figures from Verdict overall sales during the golden quarter will rise just 1.5%, down from an increase of 1.8% in 2015.

Health and beauty is also expected to perform well as sales rise 3.8%, while electricals sales will suffer due to the lack of ‘must-have’ tech gadget this year.

Verdict’s content director Patrick O’Brien said: “While price rises caused by the historically weak pound will be largely staved off until next year, low consumer confidence in the economy post-referendum will keep spending down unless retailers can convince shoppers to bring forward big-ticket purchases ahead of those anticipated rises.

“Retailers will attempt to hold their nerve and place less emphasis on Black Friday this year though, as experience has shown that it brings forward sales that would otherwise have been made full-price.

“However, those who have struggled through the year, especially clothing retailers, will offer major discounts.”

Mintel’s director of retail research Richard Perks added: ”December 2016’s results will very much depend on what retailers do about Black Friday, but if they cut back on promotions then there will be a knock-on benefit to December, as sales roll over into this month.”