Christmas is traditionally a time when retailers salivate, not so much over the turkey as over the sales figures. But the past few years have seen less celebrating and more fretting. The big West End department stores are facing stiffer competition than ever before from supermarkets and internet stores, and all during a time of recession.
The early signs are that things are going reasonably well this Christmas - The New West End Company says retailers across the West End are reporting sales up by between two and ten percent compared to the same period last year.
The last minute "man-dash" of husbands, fathers and sons rushing to buy their presents, appears to be as busy and frantic as ever. So now the retailers' attention is turning to the future. After the pre-Xmas spending spree, will London's cash-strapped households have kept anything back for the January Sales?