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Tracy West: retail commentator
19 December, 2018

Can you believe it's December already. Well, actually I know all of you can because you will have been planning your stock and staff for months. Me? Well, I am just your average consumer so the fact that December is here is still a bit of a shock!

And with December comes the annual Good Housekeeping Christmas dinner price check. The Guardian, a paper that's always full of cheer, ran the story with the headline: "UK shoppers face most expensive Christmas dinner in a decade". They reported that a traditional Christmas dinner would cost nearly 6% more than last year thanks to the hot summer (the staff there obviously didn't enjoy it) and Brexit.

Now I don't know where that 6% price rise came from but when you look at the figures it means that feeding a family of eight will cost £1.36 more than last year. To me, that doesn't sound like too much of a hike.

Aldi topped Good Housekeeping's list for cheapest Christmas shop, with its shopping costing £26.43 making the meal for just £3.30 a head. Wow! Double wow! A paltry £3.30 a head sounds incredible.

After Aldi came Lidl with a £28.22 shopping basket then Asda (£31.24). Trailing in 8th, 9th and 10th place came Sainsbury's, M&S and Waitrose with baskets totalling £34.50, £39.22 and £43.98 respectively.

We know that shoppers shop around more than they used to and the good people at Good Housekeeping have worked out that if you shop around for your Christmas dinner buying the lowest-priced item in each category from all of the 10 supermarkets surveyed, you can get the basket down to £24.90 or just £3.11 a head. But who has got time for that? Surely nobody will do it? The cost of the petrol/diesel and possible parking would surely outweigh the saving.

Anyway there is no doubt that lots of households will be ordering their festive fare online with a little topping up here and there. I hope that topping up includes a decent spend in your store. Some of the forecourt shops I have been lucky enough to visit this year have been amazing as I always say, I just wish I lived nearer to them.

Merry Christmas to you and all your hard-working staff and a happy 2019!


When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?