UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Will you be bargain-hunting online on Christmas Day?

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Instead of sitting around the tree on Christmas day savouring the company of friends and family, why not get the laptop out and do a bit of online shopping?

According to retail industry body IMRG, about 4.3 million Britons will go online on Christmas Day and spend about 120 million pounds, snapping up the best deals ahead of the January sales.

Tesco competitively launched an online sale on Tuesday ahead of its in-store sale, which begins on Dec. 26.

Last year, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Boots, Debenhams, Play.com and M&M Direct waited until Christmas Day to start sales.

In Britain – 7 days in 7 pictures

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Wednesday: A homeless man sits outside the entrance to Green Park Tube Station in central London on Christmas Eve, while a man and a woman kiss goodbye after a shopping trip. There was yet more evidence this week that the world’s economies are limping into the new year,  with Britain contracting more sharply than first thought and further signs that the U.S. economy is in a sharp decline. REUTERS/Andrew Parson

Tuesday: A homeless man has his hair cut at the charity Crisis UK temporary day centre for the homeless at a school in London. Crisis UK opens its doors to the homeless over the festive period from 23 until 30 December. A survey for Crisis suggests nearly one in 10 people are struggling to keep up with rent or mortgage payments, and the charity fears there will be a surge in homelessness in 2009. REUTERS/Luke McGregor

Will Aldi and Lidl open up in posh areas now?

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A report published today by Verdict Research predicts a surge in discount grocers in Britain.  Verdict Research says discounters like privately owned German groups Aldi and Lidl should raise as much finance as possible to aggressively expand in markets where they are under-represented.

This could be good news for the thrifty, middle class shopper – no more need to venture outside one’s turf to areas one would not normally set foot into but which have become a weekly destination because they have a Lidl or Aldi.

Is curry the latest for the spending chop?

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The Friday night take-away, Saturday shopping spree and summer get-away are in line for the chop, as consumers become increasingly nervous over looming recession. Almost nine out of 10 Britons say they will cut spending on non-essential items to cushion themselves against impending economic downturn, according to a poll of 1,000 people for Web site Fool.co.uk.

A British institution — the good old take-away — is set to receive the biggest blow, with over two-thirds of the nation planning to cut back on curries, fish suppers and late-night kebabs, the survey says. Other planned cutbacks include retail therapy (67 percent) and fewer holidays (49 percent), while 12 percent plan to stop smoking, 4 percent to put pension contributions on hold and 3 percent say they will even cut their kids’ pocket-money.

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