Belated Christmas shoppers: The last, best hope of the high street

Christmas crowds still filled out Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, London. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Are you smug? Have you done all your Christmas shopping, wrapped everything up, arranged parcels around the tree or sent them off to relatives around the country?

If like me, dear reader, you have not then together we may represent the last great hope of 2012 for shopkeepers.

November retail sales are unchanged on the month before which is disappointing as economists had expected a bit of a boost.

Coupled with a more up-to-date survey of stores yesterday from the CBI, it suggests that we're either spending less this Christmas or are cannily holding back, waiting for discounts in the last few days.

That is where laggards like me come in.

Christmas shoppers out in York city centre Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

But lower spending, rather than delays, would fit the bigger picture of a country which is stuck in a rut: growth is zig-zagging along the bottom, prices are rising faster than wages and there is a lot of uncertainty out there.

Do not expect any great change soon - unless Santa really is kind this Christmas.