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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 19:13 GMT
Web sales start on Christmas Day
Click to spend
More are expected to shop online than attend Church of England services
Millions of UK consumers are expected to spend Christmas Day shopping online as major retailers begin selling discounted goods via the internet.

Marks & Spencer, Halfords, PC World, Argos, Comet and Dixons launch web sales at 0001 GMT on 25 December.

Industry body the Interactive Media in Retail Group predicted 3.57m Britons will hunt for deals on Christmas Day.

The IMRG's CEO, James Roper, said: "The desire to shop doesn't go away and the web fills a niche when stores close."

Sitting in front of elderly relatives playing charades is one way to spend your Christmas Day, surfing for deals is another
Rob Forbes
PC World

He added that projections by IMRG suggested that online sales on 25 December would total 52m - the equivalent of 14.56 per customer, and a rise of 66% on the previous year.

The peak spending time was likely to be after the Queen's speech, principally between 2000 and 2200 GMT, Mr Roper said.

By contrast, only 2.8m people attended a Church of England service on Christmas Day 2006.

Rob Forbes, spokesman for PC World, said that the web meant consumers expected more choice.

"Sitting in front of elderly relatives playing charades is one way to spend your Christmas Day, surfing for deals is another.

"We know that Boxing Day is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and people are keen to get started on the sales."

A spokeswoman for Halfords said: "We did this last year in response to demand, and it was very popular.

"Clearly many customers do wish to shop for bargains over the Christmas turkey."

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