Online shopping was already worrying conventional retail outlets through increasing competition. Yet a hearty turnout of shoppers put paid to rumours of any recessionary trends, says the operations manager at Selfridges in London: “We’ve probably seen no more people in our stores than last year, that’s been fairly flat, but we’ve certainly seen a far greater spending than last year, mainly on diamonds and jewellery and some of those items. So we’re certainly not fearful of a recession from where we’re sitting.”
Boxing Day opening times at some major chains were hours earlier than usual, after they had offered hefty pre-Christmas discounts to move product. Discounts of up to 60 per cent were offered here for instance, although Selfridges reported an increase in Christmas sales. Some sources estimated that overall sales on the web were up 80 per cent from last year.