Belfast Telegraph

Business View: Tills ring out for late food shoppers

By John Mulgrew

It seems the alarmingly titled last-minute Christmas shopping days could really be ringing true this year.

While Black Friday and the more recent and no less scaremongering moniker of last weekend’s Panic Saturday saw high-street gift sales predicted to have shot up to £1.2bn across the UK, it’s the big food shop that revellers are leaving to the very last minute.

More than a third of consumers left food shopping until yesterday — during the seemingly aptly named Mayhem Monday.

Belfast itself appeared to back up this trend, the city a buzzing hive of activity and stress in equal measure.

And the chaos is set to continue today, with the supermarkets set to be only marginally less busy once again, according to a BBC Good Food survey.

And this year it seems those cooking for a house full of friends and family could welcome a fall in the cost of the Christmas meal — with fresh food prices slipping, led by a fall in the price of vegetables.

Equally as important for a suitably festive season, last month was the first time alcoholic drinks experienced deflation since the shop price index from the British Retail Consortium began eight years ago.

And there are some stunning sales numbers floating around at this time of year. One of which is Tesco and its wine sales — with the supermarket giant expected to shift 2.5 million bottles of champagne, and 55 million bottles of wine in the Christmas run-up.

Meanwhile, one Co Down firm was given an early gift heading into the festive season.

Cottage Catering landed a UK-wide supply contract for its range of trifles to meet the demands of Asda’s sweet-toothed customers.

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