Don't put all your Christmas shopping in one basket

Shoppers are being urged to spread their Christmas shopping between online and the high street to avoid disappointment.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) says that spread-purchasing gifts and groceries will mean that shoppers lessen the chance of repeat scenes from last year, which saw bad weather cripple postal services.

The warning comes after statistics last week showed a surge in internet shopping - online sales are predicted to be up by as much as 17 per cent on the year before - and media reports indicate that bad weather would over-stretch the postal service.

Commenting, senior policy adviser at the Forum, Phil McCabe said: ""The inability of UK infrastructure to cope during extreme weather, coupled with a stretched postal service, meant huge problems for many people who'd opted to purchases goods last Christmas via the web. The pain was particular acute for those who did their last minute grocery shopping via the web.

"With this year's surge in Internet shopping and hundreds of thousands more parcels in the system than anticipated, the delivery network will be even less able to cope in the event of another bout of bad weather.

"With this in mind we would remind Christmas shoppers not to forget their local high street shops, which offer unrivalled levels of service, choice and quality."