British retailers can expect to enjoy a very merry Christmas, as the annual growth in sales has been tipped to reach a six-year high.

Market research company Verdict Retail has forecast that Brits will spend £88.4 billion pounds on the high street in the final quarter of this year, which would represent a 2.2 per cent growth compared with 2012.

That figure would also make this the best sales growth for retailers since 2007, when fourth quarter spending rose by 3.1 per cent.

According to reuters.com, Verdict researchers cited increase consumer confidence as well as a pick-up in the jobs and housing markets as factors for improved Christmas sales.

An increase in compensation payments for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) was also named as a potential reason for increased spending.

However, in an interview with businessweek.com, Verdict research director Maureen Hinton said that the main factor was the fact that so many families have been having children during the recession.

She said: “Shoppers have far more reasons to be cheerful this year. On top of all this, during the recession there has been a baby boom which means one of the prime targets for Christmas spending, kids, is growing.”

Verdict predicted that £11.6 billion would be spent online this quarter, whilst £36.4 billion would be spent on food.

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