In Brief

Shops start stocking the Christmas shelves

Brits are already planning ahead for the festive season

The summer holidays have only just finished but according to some of the UK’s major retailers, it’s already beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. 

Although the big day is still more than 16 weeks away, many “lockdown-weary” Brits are taking their minds off the coronavirus pandemic by planning for the festive season, says Sky News.  

Shops are fuelling the festive fun by stocking shelves with Christmas items, with Sainsbury’s to start selling panettone and stollen from tomorrow. Asda will have mince pies for sale from Thursday, with Tesco following suit from next week. 

But as the broadcaster notes, John Lewis “stole a march on all of them”, with the retailer’s online Christmas shop opening on Monday last week - ten days earlier than in 2019.

Online searches for Christmas products on the John Lewis website were already up by 370% in August compared with the same period last year.

In a statement, the group’s Christmas buyer, Jason Billings-Cray, said that “Christmas celebrations mostly take place in our homes and we have seen how the lockdown has made people think more about their homes, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people are already thinking about how they will decorate their homes this Christmas.

“During the lockdown, many people have spent more time outdoors and become closer to nature. From the hundreds of emails from customers asking to be alerted when specific decorations become available it looks as if animal baubles will be the most popular this year, with peacocks, squirrels and toucans topping the list of most wanted.”

 Christmas-related searches are also up by 42% year-on-year on the website of Waitrose, John Lewis’s grocery division. 

 The number of customers looking for Christmas puddings in July and August was up by 75%, while mince pie searches rose by more than 110%.

And “searches for mincemeat are up nearly 400% as people think about making their own mince pies”, says Billings-Cray.​

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