There's some good news and some bad news here from the Office for National Statistics. The good news is that we, as a nation, are really getting it together when it comes to doing our Christmas shopping in advance. The bad news is we're doing it really far in advance in November, on Black Friday, and are therefore contributing to the dramatic erosion of the high street retailers.
The ONS says Black Friday is now the official start of the Christmas buying season for us, as we spread our festive purchasing out more thinly over November and December now, rather than make the traditional dash to Argos on December 24. The total volume of UK retail sales actually managed to fall during last December – by 0.9 per cent – with the timeshifted earlier Christmas Day of Black Friday on November 23 this year pushing November to a 1.3 per cent rise.
Obviously these things do not cancel each other out, as Black Friday is the time of super cheap, margin-smashing discounts, so the tiny additional profits made during November's virtual trolley dashes are not as useful for the real world retailers as our traditional December weekend department store trudges of old. [ONS via BBC]
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