Open all hours? Yes please, say ‘Shopaholic Brits’

Boredom and last minute shopping top reasons for wanting shops open.
Boredom and last minute shopping top reasons for wanting shops open.
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Shopaholic Brits see Christmas as just another day to fill their trolleys as new research1 reveals around one in five want department stores, supermarkets and shopping centres to be open on December 25.

According to the Nationwide Current Accounts poll, nearly a third (29%) of Brits have nipped out to the corner shop or convenience store on Christmas Day to get last minute food or drink items, with the most popular purchases including alcohol, batteries and gravy.

Yet 17 per cent of Brits want bigger stores to remain open, with one in three (33%) wanting the option to purchase presents or food at the eleventh hour, while nearly a quarter (24%) want to go shopping as they are bored at Christmas.

However, in 2004, the Government introduced the Christmas Day Trading Act, preventing shops over 3,000 square feet from opening on 25 December in England and Wales. The Scottish Parliament introduced a similar law in Scotland in 2007.

Nationwide Building Society’s latest survey highlights a distinct lack of festive spirit around the UK with nearly one in five (18%) admitting they want shops open just to get out of the house, while 15 per cent want to avoid preparing the Christmas dinner. Some 14 per cent want to swerve seeing family and other Christmas guests. The downbeat feeling is balanced by a fervour to spend, with 14 per cent admitting they want shops open on the 25th so they can spend their Christmas money right away.

The research shows that it’s men who want shops to open to cure their boredom (26% versus 20%), to avoid preparing the Christmas dinner (17% versus 12%) and to avoid family and other guests (15% versus 12%).

When it comes to items purchased, the Society’s poll highlights the top ten items to buy from the corner shop on Christmas Day:

1. Alcohol (37% of people purchased)

2. Milk (26%)

3. Soft drinks (20%)

4. Batteries (19%)

5. Cigarettes (15%)

6. Gravy (14%)

7. Bread (11%)

8. Stuffing (11%)

9. Cream (11%)

10. Chocolate/other sweets (8%)

There is a difference of opinion among the sexes with more than one in five (21%) men admitting they would like to see the larger shops open on Christmas Day compared to just 13 per cent of women. And nearly a third (32%) of men admit to popping out compared to more than a quarter (26%) of women.

The poll also shows that the older people get, the less likely they are to want, or perhaps need, shops to open on Christmas Day. In fact, while 28 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 want shops to open their doors, that figure falls to 15 per cent for 45-54 year olds and just eight per cent for those aged 55 or more.

Regionally, it’s the Scots (19%) who favour Christmas Day opening, while the Welsh and those in East Anglia would prefer to maintain the status quo of stores being shut on Christmas Day, with only 10 per cent and 13 per cent of people respectively in those regions wanting to see shops open up on 25 December.

Given that Scots are most likely to want bigger shops to open on Christmas Day, it is not surprising to see that more than two in five of people (41%) in Scotland have gone to the corner shop to make a last minute purchase.

The percentage of people by region nipping out to the corner shop on Christmas Day is as follows:

· Scotland (41%)

· London, Wales (36%)

· South West (31%)

· Yorkshire and the Humber (29%)

· North West, West Midlands (28%)

· Northern Ireland (27%)

· South East (26%)

· North East (25%)

· East Anglia, East Midlands (19%)

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “While most people are content with staying at home or visiting loved ones on Christmas Day, a hardcore element are still very much in the mood to shop. But with 25th December now the only day when most of the shops are shut across the UK, it is perhaps a bit much to expect staff to give up their Christmas Day to serve the nation at the tills.

“A day off a year to recharge our batteries before battling the queues again for the best bargains is well deserved. But regardless of whether we enjoy the downtime or would rather shop until we drop, we’d always recommend spending wisely in the run up to the big day and afterwards when the sales commence. Consider setting a limit and sticking to it to avoid going into too much debt”.