UK department stores including Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason have started selling Christmas products early in an attempt to boost consumer spending.
The stores have already started stocking festive goods, while Debenhams plans to do so by the end of the month, the Daily Telegraph reports. The retailers are said to be following the lead of US retailers Sears and Toys R Us, which both began stocking Christmas merchandise in July.
Selfridges' Christmas shop, which opened on 8 August, reportedly saw sales rise by 43 per cent in the first week compared with last year. Geraldine James, head buyer at Selfridges, told the Telegraph that the most popular products this year have been pantomime-themed baubles and a ‘Peace and Love’ ornament.
The stores are all hoping hard-up shoppers will spend more over a longer period than they would in a normal Christmas shopping season.
A Debenhams spokesman told the Telegraph: "Not everyone can afford to pay for everything for Christmas in December and [some] prefer to spread out their purchases."