Consumers are expected to cut back on Christmas spending this year, according to retail research company Verdict.
It predicts a 0.7% drop at the tills, amounting to a £500m lower spend. It would be the first time in 20 years that takings have failed to rise over the festive season.
Verdict says that grocery and online shopping will grow but expects non-food to take a hit.
However, Verdict analyst Maureen Hinton said: “Though women are much more nervous about spending than men – mainly because they usually have greater control and visibility of the family budget – we believe they will cut back less on principal Christmas expenditure than on peripheral spending such as restaurants, entertainment and big ticket items.”