Scottish retailers are bracing for a pre-Christmas shopping bonanza as customers prepare to shell out more than a million pounds in a last-minute festive spending spree on one of the most important weekends of the retail calendar.
Experts forecast this year’s ‘Super Saturday’ could be the busiest on record. More than a million shoppers across Scotland are 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.
Research by vouchercodes.co.uk and the Centre For Retail Research found Scottish shoppers are planning to spend upwards of £1.2m on a frantic weekend.
The survey also predicted today would beat the record for the 2014 shopping high of 1.1m in Scotland before December 25.
A further 300,000 will spend big online.
Shoppers already caused chaos on ‘Frenzied Friday’ at Fort Kinnaird retail park in Edinburgh 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. A further 80,000 were expected to visit its 70 stores today on what management are describing as the “busiest shopping day of the year”.
Elsewhere in Scotland, up to 200,000 are expected to descend on Glasgow’s St Enoch centre with a further 80,000 heading to Intu Braehead and around 70,000 arriving at Union Square Aberdeen.
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 last month, 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. 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 12 per cent of the total year’s 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”.
Analysts are predicting spending of £1.6bn in high streets and online – £1.2m a minute – across the UK.