Experts predict a fruitful Christmas for the trade

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Kim howells

It is going to be a merry Christmas for the trade despite the events of the last few months, according to experts. A miserable start to the year with...

It is going to be a merry Christmas for the trade despite the events of the last few months, according to experts.

A miserable start to the year with foot-and-mouth disease and bad weather followed by the terrorist attacks in the United States and the military action in Afghanistan has not dampened customers' determination to enjoy themselves during the festive season.

Research by the British Retail Consortium has discovered that of the average £600 spend this Christmas, £240 will go on entertainment, food and drink.

A separate survey by accountants Deloitte and Touche predicted spending on Christmas will rise by 1.5 per cent this year. It also said consumers in the south will spend the most on drink while those in the south west will spend the least.

In the pub trade, figures show that takings for some of the biggest operators over the last few months are actually up on the same period for last year - which leads experts to believe this Christmas will be a lucrative one.

JD Wetherspoon saw turnover increase by 4.5 per cent in September and by seven per cent in October compared with the same months in 2000.

Mark Hastings from the British Beer and Pub Association said: "I think we'll see Christmas being as good this year as it has been in previous years. It's always a time when people like to get out and party. Whatever's happening in the world, Christmas is Christmas."

Some people have suggested that recent events have actually been good for the trade. When he announced 36-hour opening for New Year's Eve, tourism minister Dr Kim Howells said people deserved to enjoy themselves after the year's hardship.

Pub operators have also identified that people are visiting the pub more often to get away from constant news of the war.

The threat of recession means customers are loathe to spend too much on a night out - which is good news for the trade as pubs attract diners who want a value-for-money pub meal instead of expensive restaurant food.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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