Retailers are braced for a stampede as last-minute shoppers are set to send tills ringing to the tune of £5.9bn over four days from Saturday.

With gifts and food still to buy for Christmas, shoppers will be making a dash to the shops and online, helping retail sales surpass the £5.74bn spent over the four days surrounding Black Friday.

Shoppers will particularly hit the shops on Saturday with £1.8bn expected to be spent on the day, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which measures UK retail sales across all payment types including cards and cash.

Groceries will account for the majority of consumer expenditure, representing 55% of all money spent. Food and drink sales are set to climb 2.8% year on year.

Online sales are expected to be up 24% over the four days to December 22.

Mark Barnett, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, said: “The shift to shopping online is undeniable, but high streets and shopping malls still dominate with four out of five pounds spent offline.

“Last year, consumers left their shopping late, and we are expecting many to do the same this year, with the four days from Saturday December 19 forecast to be the biggest shopping days of the year.

“As we get closer to Christmas, grocery shopping starts to dominate sales, but gifts of clothing and electronics can expect to see strong growth also.”

Total consumer expenditure between now and Christmas Eve is forecast to grow by 6.4% on 2014.