Retailers are planning to stock cautiously in the run up to the crucial Christmas trading period due to uncertainty over the economy and concern over house prices.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that chains are stocking moderately for the festive season due to fears of further dips in consumer confidence and the affect of public spending cuts.

The report also finds that retailers are planning to launch their Christmas ranges earlier to take advantage of shoppers spreading their spending.

Andy Lyon, retail partner at PwC, told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s a case of once bitten twice shy. Many retailers were caught out in Christmas 2008 and left with goods that they were unable to sell. In 2009, they stocked more conservatively and this paid off with an improvement in profitability and they are expected to take a similar approach this year.”

He added: “Consumers are getting a lot of mixed messages about the economy and they are concerned about spending cuts and possible house price movements.”