In a much-needed boost to operators, the majority of consumers will continue to “splash out” over the Christmas period on presents, decorations and visiting bars and restaurants, according to a new survey. The survey of around 2,000 UK adults by Axa UK found that 58% of people are not set to cut back on festive spending despite the economic uncertainty and the continuing squeeze on household incomes. However, at the same time a third of those surveyed said they would cut back on presents, decorations and getting into the festive spirit in bars and restaurants. The survey also found that only 16% of people feel optimistic about their financial situation. Unsurprisingly, London was found to be the area least likely to rein in its festive spending. The North East, which has been particularly badly hit by unemployment and house price falls, was the region most likely to make festive cutbacks, with 51% of people in the region planning to spend less on going out. One in 10 consumers said they could not see a time when their earnings would cover their outgoings and 15% said they could not survive without a large overdraft or credit card. Nick Turner, Axa UK's director of customer partnerships, said: “I think we're going to see a lot more shopping around and possibly the highest ever online trade this year as consumers seek to stretch their pounds even further.”

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