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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 09:53 GMT
Christmas retail spending to drop
Shoppers in London's Oxford Street
Deloitte does not think retailers will enjoy this Christmas
Festive cheer may be far from retailers' minds next month after a survey predicts the first drop in UK Christmas spending in a decade.

The amount the UK spends on Christmas presents will fall by 400m this year, the study by accountants Deloitte says.

It estimates that the average amount spent per head on gifts will fall 2.8% to 310, cutting the total UK spend to 14.7bn from 15.1bn last year.

The survey also says most people hope not to have to use their credit cards.

Deloitte said three out of four shoppers aim to use cash or debit cards alone, and suggested that this meant people were becoming more concerned about personal debt.

Last-minute shoppers

Despite the overall prediction of a decrease, Deloitte said it expected spending on food and drink would increase slightly compared to last year, up 1.3% to 7.6bn.

Christmas presents
80% aim to avoid credit cards
Welsh to spend most on gifts
East Anglians the least
50% more orders over internet
Source: Deloitte

Spending on socialising will rise by 5.9% to 6.8bn.

Men were set to increase their outlay on eating and alcohol, it said - but women were still expected to spend more on gifts.

"Consumers are better informed and choosier than ever before," said Deloitte's Sharon Fraser.

She predicted that more consumers would choose to delay their Christmas shopping in the hope that shops reduced prices.

Deloitte found that a quarter of shoppers do not expect to finish their shopping until Christmas Eve.

It predicts that the Welsh will be the most generous this year, spending an average 359 per person on gifts, with people in East Anglia the least - 266 per head.

The accountancy giant spoke to 1,000 UK consumers.

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