Leeds shoppers in a frenzy on ‘Panic Saturday’

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RETAILERS in Leeds city centre enjoyed their most lucrative day of the year on ‘Panic Saturday’ as shoppers went on the hunt for late Christmas presents.

High street spending was set to reach £1.2bn across Britain over the weekend, with three shopping days still to go until Christmas.

Leeds city centre was packed with shoppers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Ian De-Whytell, owner of Crash Records on the Headrow, said: “In terms of takings, Saturday was our busiest day of the year.

“It has been a very busy weekend. If people haven’t found the gift they want they have been buying gift vouchers, so we are very pleased with how business has been going.

“We still think there is more shopping to be done with people buying last minute presents on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We are expecting to see a lot more people coming through the doors in the next few days and a lot more money being spent.”

Natalie Millington, director of Vicar Lane based Millies delicatessen, health food store and beauty salon, said: “Saturday was probably one of our busiest days of the year so far.

“We sold loads of hampers and Christmas cheeses and our natural bodycare range has been doing really well.”

Nationwide, a total of 13 million consumers were set to spend £2.1m on last-minute gifts and groceries at an average of £92.31 per person, according to a report by the Centre for Retail Research.

But Visa Europe said December 22 will actually be the UK’s busiest high street shopping day ahead of Christmas, with £1.3bn expected to be spent. It is expecting £15,278 to be spent every second on its cards.

Despite the rise of Black Friday, which saw high street spending of more than £1 billion this year, Visa predicts that the high street will continue to see its busiest day two days before Christmas.

Overall, the seven-day period before Christmas Day is predicted to see a seven per cent increase in spending and an eight per cent increase in transactions on the same period last year.

Kevin Jenkins of Visa Europe said: “Black Friday kick-started Christmas on the high street and online this year but the busiest day will likely remain in its traditional slot close to Christmas.

“Across Tuesday December 23 we are likely to see £1.3bn spent in total.”