If your lunchtime Christmas shopping seems to be made impossible by long queues at the till this December, it could be because stores are hiring far fewer staff than normal.
Retail vacancies on jobs website AdCourier only rose by 10% between August and November this year, compared to 130% in the run up to Christmas last year.
This staffing shortage seems to have driven consumers online, with a record £767,500 spent on the internet in one minute this Monday lunchtime.
“We are all aware that the economic climate has got tougher, and consumer confidence has dropped,” said Keith Robinson, former chief operating officer at recruitment website Totaljobs.
“One of the first areas to be cut in any slowdown is the need to hire, therefore recruitment budgets suffer,” he added.