December 7 was forecast to be the biggest day for retailers online for Christmas shopping, according to leading trade body IMRG.

Dubbed Mega Monday or Cyber Monday, IMRG expects £350m to be spent online that day, up 10% on last year. It believes £5bn will be spent over the month, up 14% on the year.

The body said next Monday will be the biggest as it is after pay day and shoppers will browse all weekend in stores or online and then buy on the Monday. However, the biggest day for online sales in the US was set to be this week because of the public holiday after Thanksgiving.

Some retailers are split as to which Monday they believe is the biggest. Richard Chapple, commercial director of The Hut Group, which runs etail businesses including Zavvi, said: “Every Monday until Christmas will be phenomenal but the hype started this week. Monday was a record day for us.” marketing director Martin Talbot said: “We’re confident sales will be up 20% year on year next week.” Total basket spend has been up 10% so far in the final quarter.

Talbot said confidence has returned since the postal strike. “Greater traffic levels would indicate that customers are being more selective about what they are buying.” 

M and M Direct chief executive Steve Robinson said: “It is getting harder each year to guess which day Cyber Monday will be. We think it might even be the 14th this year. We had our record day ever this week but believe we can still beat that.”

Shop Direct chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said it had its record day on Monday. “We were up 65% online with 16,000 orders placed just between 8pm and 9pm.” Shop Direct had 1.2 million customers across all its sites on Monday, which include Littlewoods, Woolworths and Very.

HMV’s site was down for 15 minutes on Monday night but the retailer saw “no real impact on sales”.

Grocers’ festive war

The grocers this week stepped up their price wars on- and offline as the festive party season gets into swing.

Co-op and Somerfield waded into the price war on Monday with a £200m promotional assault, and its first triple dividend offer. The move follows price campaigns by Asda and Tesco with promised festive savings of £150m and £250m respectively.

Tesco also tempted customers further this week by sending out its £67m February 2010 statement early so shoppers have the option of using them for their Christmas shopping.

Sainsbury’s is gearing up for its biggest ever online Christmas as it has launched its non-food offer online this year. It also pledged to offer 20% more delivery slots than last year.