Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Thursday, 25 December 2008

More shoppers online at Christmas

A screen showing internet shopping
More people than ever are expected to shop online on Christmas Day

More than five million people are expected to use the internet to carry on shopping on Christmas Day, the online retail group IMRG says.

IMRG estimates more than 100m will be spent online, compared with the 84m spent last year.

The shopping figure compares with the four and a half million people who attend a Christmas church service.

Many High Street stores, including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, have already begun sales on their web-sites.

Marks & Spencer will launch its online sale on Christmas Day, offering savings of up to 50% across most of its departments.

Christmas is a time for you to enjoy time with family, it's not the time to get your credit card out
Vincent, Newport, UK

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers has suggested that 82% of High Street retailers offered either sales or promotions in the run up to Christmas.

But the Church of England Bishop for Urban Life and Faith, Stephen Lowe, said the increased shopping trend for Christmas Day was "terribly sad" and reflected a society that had its priorities wrong.

Meanwhile, Debenhams has announced it is cutting 70% off its prices across its stores in what it describes as its biggest-ever sale and will launch its online sales from 0700 GMT on Boxing Day.

And Tesco has also announced it is launching its largest sale, which will begin on Boxing Day.

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