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Credit squeeze affects Christmas shoppers

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Almost a third (30%) of people plan to spend less this Christmas due to recent turmoil in financial markets, according to Cornhill Direct.

A survey by the insurer showed last Christmas UK consumers spent an average of £2,114 over the festive season, down 4.1% from 2005. Most money went towards presents last year, with £1,059 spent on friends and relatives, as well as neighbours and tradesmen. In addition, £445.21 was spent on food and drink, on average, with £193.66 going towards Christmas parties and £92 on new outfits.

However, almost a third of respondents to the survey admitted going into debt every Christmas, with 10% still paying off the debt the following December.

Simon Coughlin, a spokesman for Cornhill Direct, said: “It seems extraordinary that one day in the calendar can have such an impact on people’s finances.”

“The concern for insurers is the potential for crime over the Christmas period. Official recorded crime statistics reveal an increase in domestic burglaries during the coldest and darkest months of the year. Householders should be even more security conscious than usual, keeping presents hidden away right up until Christmas Day.”

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