CAPITAL traders are braced for a pre-Christmas shopping bonanza as customers prepare to shell out over a million pounds in a last-minute festive spending spree on one of the most important weekends of the retail calendar.
Experts predict this year’s ‘Super Saturday’ could be the busiest on record with more than a million shoppers across Scotland expected to seek out the best last-minute deals.
And analysts predict retailers plan to cash in on a panic-buying windfall by slashing prices across the board as they aim to recover from a disappointing pre-Christmas period with discounts of up to 70 per cent expected at some high street brands.
While the two days prior to Christmas are always busy, experts believe that because they fall on a Saturday and Sunday this year more people will be off and footfall higher than ever.
In addition, online shopping has now entered a ‘dead zone’ as few retailers can guarantee delivery for the 25th.
Research by vouchercodes.co.uk and the Centre For Retail Research found shoppers are planning to spend upwards of £1.2m.
Footfall at stores across the country is expected to increase by up to 63 per cent on regular weekend figures, according to data from retail analysts ShopperTrak.
Shoppers already caused chaos on ‘frenzied Friday’ at Fort Kinnaird retail park as police were forced to direct traffic around the area when thousands arrived for a last-minute panic-buying push.
Bosses at the centre said up to 70,000 passed through the doors on with a further 80,000 expected to visit its 70 stores today, on what management are describing as the “busiest shopping day of the year”.
Cameron Toll is also expecting to see an increase in visitor numbers as shoppers look to stock up for the festive period.
High street stores including Next and Oasis are set to slash the cost of some products by up to 70 per cent in an attempt to attract shoppers back after reduced footfall in November, while the likes of Topshop and River Island could halve prices in store.
Customers can also expect larger stores to operate longer opening times as retailers look to cash in before most close at 4pm on Christmas Eve.
Blustery but mild conditions are also unlikely to put shoppers off, with highs of 12 degrees expected in the Capital.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said bargain hunters could be spoiled for choice by discounts offered by certain retailers.
He added: “After a disappointing November, retailers are pinning their hopes on festive shoppers coming out in force for the final and most important shopping weekend before Christmas.
“Around £3 billion will be spent in shops in Scotland in December, around twelve per cent of the total years’ retail spend, with much of that being spent on food and last minute presents.”
Mr Lonsdale continued: “Despite more and more people shopping online, we’d expect Saturday and Sunday to be chiefly focused around high street shopping for last minute gifts as well as festive fare purchases”.