All I want for Christmas is a bargain


SW Londoner’s Natasha Barr looks into whether it is possible to have an affordable and enjoyable Christmas.


By Natasha Barr

All I want for Christmas is…a new purse, some leather gloves and maybe a bit of make-up. And it would be nice if all my wishes came true.

But what I’d really like is to be able to return the favour. Sadly like a lot of shoppers this Christmas my piggy bank is almost empty and I’m already thinking about how I’m going to pay January’s bills if I treat my nearest and dearest this December.

And I’ve been thinking like many a bargain hunter: is it possible to have an affordable and enjoyable Christmas?

As well as the increasing number of sad empty units our local high streets in South West London have had new additions to adapt for the bleak economic winter and changing consumer wants.

CeX, the Computer Exchange which opened on Wimbledon’s Broadway in late October, offers shoppers the chance to sell their old technology and entertainment products and also buy others at a discounted price.

Manager Shams Ahmed said: “It is a win-win situation. People can buy second-hand DVDs or games as presents. It’s a cheaper alternative which is good at this time of year.”

He said more and more people were bringing in items closer to Christmas in an attempt to generate some extra spending money.

But do shoppers think present recycling is a step too far?

“I’d be disappointed if I got second hand things. I’m not greedy but I think Christmas is the time for spending money, because if you can’t treat people at Christmas then when can you?” said 20-year-old Sean Hobson.

“I think in principle it’s a good idea for everyone but I’m not a good enough person to do that. I’d be too embarrassed in case the other person thought I was cheap,” said 38-year-old Ginny Kennedy.

Children are oblivious to the hardships faced by their parents this Christmas and expect to get the toys they see in the adverts – one of the most popular this Christmas is the Ninjago Fire Temple costing £91.99.

“My kids have spent a lot of time making thier wish-lists, cutting and sticking pictures onto paper and I don’t want to disappoint them,” said Ginny.

One compromise is to go for quantity of presents over quality and the bargain shops which have been so popular during the recession make this possible.

One of the most successful chains, Poundland, joined Putney’s high street this autumn and there is no reason to believe it won’t do well. Poundland opened 64 new stores this year and can boast of having an increase in turnover from the previous year.

Putney resident Anna Lippel said she always sees people coming out of the new store with bags and bags of shopping.

Poundland Chief Executive Jim McCarthy said: “It is clear that the challenging economic climate is set to continue for some time yet and that an increasing number of consumers will continue to seek exceptional value for money.”

Of course those still worried about spending too much but aren’t tempted to try these new shops could always try cutting down on the buckets of booze or eating less turkey.

Alternativly there are the hoards of crowds to fight through at the premature Boxing day sales…

Thought not.


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