UK consumers prepare for Christmas early
Published: 31 July 2019 - Fiona Garcia
Brits are said to be stocking up for Christmas earlier this year due to the looming Brexit deadline, as Christmas tree retailer reports boom in business and Selfridges is the first retailer to open its Christmas shop this month, 149 days ahead of the big day.
Online artificial Christmas tree retailer, Christmas Tree World has reported a 112% increase in sales, as nervous Brits stockpile for the Christmas period ahead of the October Brexit deadline. The company says it has “futureproofed” its business by stockpiling Christmas 2019 stock early due to the increase in demand.
The news follows recent reports that suggest a no-deal Brexit on October 31 could be ‘disastrous’ for Christmas due to the uncertainty of what may follow, as the date of the UK potentially crashing out of the EU looms closer.
“Christmas this year could be seriously affected”, says the retailer, with concern about importation rates slowing down and an increase in price through new tariffs. The pound has plunged to a 27-month low vs the dollar, which is reportedly having a dramatic effect on Christmas retailers.
This is understandably impacting businesses in the seasonal category but is also proving a cause for concern for consumers, who are now worried about the availability of goods at Christmas.
Christmas Tree World, which trades online as Christmastreeworld.co.uk, revealed sales have more than doubled from July last year, which it believes highlights the effect that Brexit is already having on Christmas, as consumers act fast to prepare themselves ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31.
Christmas Tree World owner Stephen Evans said: “Knowing the uncertainty in the retail climate due to Brexit looming, we have decided to futureproof ourselves for 2019, and have already secured stock in our warehouse for the year in preparation for the Brexit deadline of October 31.
“Ordering the stock so early in the year has given us the security of having it in our warehouse and ready to go. We’re pleased with how this futureproofing is already paying off – it is both preventing any logistical headaches for our team, whilst giving customers the peace of mind that they will have their Christmas tree well in time for Christmas.”
Meanwhile, London department store Selfridges opened its Christmas shop this week, following its tradition of being the first retailer to start selling Christmas merchandise ahead of the festive period.
As in previous years, Selfridges launches its Christmas Shop in two phases, with the first opening on July 29 and carrying 600 lines – an increase on 2018’s offer of 500 - and phase two set to launch on September 2 with the complete, full-scale product offer of 3,500 lines.
The department store said the summer launch of its Christmas shop is an ongoing success and provide a boost to year-on-year sales, as UK shoppers start buying early and souvenir-hunting tourists are keen on taking home mementos of their time in London for Christmas.
Selfridges Christmas and home buyer Eleanor Gregory explained: “Our summer Christmas shop launch simply addresses the growing demand for convenience Christmas shopping outside the traditional Christmas season from many of our customers – they include a large number of domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list.
“They also tell us that they like to be able to take their pick of the very best selection available, whilst the range we offer is at its most comprehensive.”
She added: “We’ve been opening the doors to our Christmas shop during the summer for many years and our customers consider Selfridges a real destination for fans of Christmas and festive decorations within and outside the UK.
“Some customers return to us year after year, excited at the prospect of discovering the new ranges and adding to their collections. We have so many customers visiting from all over the world, eager to snap up festive decorations and souvenirs on their London summer holidays which they can’t buy at home.”