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    Nearly one third of Brits began Christmas shopping by mid-Oct: NielsenIQ

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    More Britons began their Christmas shopping early this year as they navigate a worsening cost-of-living squeeze by budgeting their spending, market research group NielsenIQ said.

    In a survey released on Tuesday, which chimes with recent comments from Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Primark, NielsenIQ said 30 per cent of British consumers started shopping for Christmas this year before mid-October, which compared to 18 per cent in 2021.

    Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “27 per cent also say they will buy Christmas gifts when they see them in store”, adding that this suggested a “spreading the cost of Christmas” mindset was even more important as Britons struggle with rising living costs.

    These costs show no sign of easing, and with inflation at a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent and consumer confidence close to the gloomiest on record, people are looking to make savings.

    Nielsen said sales growth at British supermarkets picked-up over the last month on a value basis, masking a drop in volumes once inflation is accounted for.

    It said growth was 5.3 per cent in the four weeks to Nov. 5 year-on-year, having increased 4.7 per cent in last month’s data set.

    NielsenIQ said that crisps and snacks and soft drinks were the only two categories to see volume growth in the four week period with growth of 2.9 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.

    General merchandise volume sales fell 7.6 per cent, it said.

    NielsenIQ forecast £34 billion will be spent at supermarket groups in the 12 weeks to Dec. 31, growth of 4 per cent compared to last year, but with a volume decline of 4 per cent.

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