The final report in this series comes from Michael Thompson, general manager of The Mall in Wood Green, north London.
'As of Wednesday, December 22, I feel that a number of retailers are biting their finger nails. The sportswear shops have gone into full Sale mode and a number of independents have followed suit.
Wood Green is traditionally a late Christmas shopping location. Christmas Eve is our busiest day of the year. I confidently predict that at 4.00pm, customers will still be streaming in. Footfall and car park usage during December has been a week behind last year's figures. The two-day jump of Christmas now falling on the Saturday has made a tremendous impact on customer psychology, coupled with an awareness that retailers are resorting to reducing prices prior to Christmas. This has made the customer more cautious about early purchases.
A little elf, who works within earshot of Father Christmas, advises me that PlayStation 2 consoles, Baby Annabel, wrestler rings, Robosapiens and telescopes are the favoured presents for the younger generation.'