Big-name stores holding their nerve in London's West End
On the last Monday before Christmas, much of Oxford Street was as congested as one would expect. The notoriously busy Oxford Circus junction was heaving with eager shoppers at 3pm yesterday as present-hunters jostled past each other with bags of Christmas gifts.

With only five days to go, big-name stores were holding their nerve and not succumbing to the temptation of going on Sale. Marks & Spencer, which is holding off until Boxing Day, has compensated with its pre-planned three-for-two Christmas gift mix-and-match promotion.

However, some retailers are discounting. In the window of Japanese retailer Muji, mannequins were wearing Sale sashes, while shoe retailer Shellys was tempting shoppers with a 20 per cent off Sale. Even the mighty Arcadia was buying into the festive promotions, with Topman shoes and suits on Sale and Miss Selfridge advertising 'many items at£10 or under'.

The Tottenham Court road end of the landmark shopping street was noticeably quieter, with men's fashion retailer The Officers Club devoting its entire window to 'massive Xmas clearance' banners. Discount chain Madhouse was making an effort to shift value clothing with a 70 per cent Sale. By far the busiest stores were department store John Lewis and Swedish fashion retailer H&M.