UK businesses fear gloomy Christmas as cost of living soars

LONDON – British businesses fear a gloomy Christmas ahead, as almost half of households plan to cut festive spending due to the soaring cost of living and sales are already falling sharply in inflation-adjusted terms.

Payments processor Barclaycard said 48 percent of people it surveyed over Oct. 21-24 plan to spend less this Christmas, with 59 percent intending to buy less generous gifts and 42 percent cutting back on socializing.

The British Retail Consortium said spending at major stores in October was 1.6 percent higher than a year earlier, slowing from 2.2 percent in September and representing a big fall in the volume of purchases once inflation was taken into account.

“Chri…

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