MILLIONS of Brits will hit the high street to splurge £1.2billion on last-minute Christmas bargains on the biggest shopping day of the year.
Customers headed for the shops early this morning to stock up on gifts, food and decorations ahead of the big day.
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And with people avoiding shops later this week, traders are expecting their biggest day of the year.
Stores will stay open late to help social distancing.
Council officials installed hand sanitiser posts in Kent’s shopping districts.
But it didn’t deter shoppers who visited a bustling Christmas market in Dartford.
The streets of Nottingham – which is also in Tier 3 – are heaving today as customers in masks stock up on presents for loved ones.
And huge queues built outside supermarkets from first thing this morning.
Aldi in Southampton was heaving before the sun rose, while at Costco in Manchester, customers could be seen pushing trolleys stacked with supplies for the next two weeks.
Even in Tier 3 areas, non-essential shops can remain open.
But there’ll be nowhere for shoppers to rest their feet and enjoy a mulled wine, as all restaurants, pubs and bars must stay shut.
Officials at the Centre for Retail Research, said: “People don’t want to shop on the last days before Christmas so are buying a lot now.
“Some haven’t even started so are panicking and getting it in one go.”
Sir Cary Cooper at the Manchester Business School said: “The risk averse are obeying the Government and shopping now so they get five days clear.
“Other people will listen to the advice but make their own decision on when to shop.”
Office staff also got creative for Christmas dos.
In Tier 2 areas, just six people can meet outside in a pub garden. – and ‘substantial’ meals must be ordered.
As a result, scores of Brits staged videocall parties last night. Some bosses delivered alcohol to staff.
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Worker Steve Harwood tweeted: “It’s a Zoom birthday lunch with the office followed by a Zoom office party. Cheers.”
Many will stay at home from tomorrow as part of the Government’s new directives on a safe Christmas.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If you’re visiting others over Christmas we are asking you in the five days beforehand to reduce the number of people you’re in contact with to as few as possible.”
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