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Corby /PRNewswire/ --

As the economy continues to struggle, new research shows consumers are more likely to turn to coupon promotions to make Christmas as special as ever -

Key findings:

  • 32% of women (vs 27% of all shoppers) are looking for more promotional offers than they were this time last year as the belt tightening seen in 2010 continues to get worse this Christmas
  • Almost a quarter of shoppers (23%) who are looking for more promotions state they have less money than they did a year ago (up from 12% in April 2011)  
  • Only 8% of shoppers would remain loyal to their supermarket of choice if other retailers were offering better discounts at Christmas
  • 78% of shoppers are planning to use promotional offers when doing their Christmas shopping this year, with 54% stating they intend to use three or more different promotional mechanics
  • 74% of wealthier AB shoppers plan to use money off vouchers when Christmas shopping vs. the average of 59%

New independent market research from Gfk NOP commissioned by Valassis ltd, shows that more than ever, deal hungry consumers will be turning to coupons and vouchers to make their budgets stretch further throughout the festive period. The UK's flagging economy continues to put a squeeze on shopping habits, and surprisingly even time poor, cash rich AB shoppers intend to make smart use of coupons and vouchers to keep down the Christmas bills.

According to the research, 32% of women are looking for more promotional offers than they were this time last year (versus 27% of all shoppers). Top of the list of mechanics people intend to use for saving money was 'money off' product coupons, with 65% of shoppers planning to use this mechanic when doing their Christmas grocery shopping. Meanwhile 59% of shoppers will use 'money off' vouchers, which would, for example, give them £5.00 off a £40.00 basket spend, when doing their Christmas grocery shopping.


Manchester /PRNewswire/ --

As the festive period approaches, Christmas shoppers are being warned about expensive postage for Christmas gifts and cards. It is an issue that has been raised by Consumer Focus, which released a warning to those wishing to send Christmas cards and parcels over the next week. The consumer watchdog issued research that showed how the UK could save up to £75 million if people were to wise up to money saving alternatives.

It was revealed that eight out of ten people did not know the last dates for Christmas deliveries and that leaving post to the last minute could result in expensive postage fees and failed deliveries. Speaking to, Richard Hammond, Director of Postal Policy and Regulation at Consumer Focus, discussed the need to save money and avoid disappointment: 

'We'd urge people to start thinking about Christmas post and stocking up on second class stamps now. Posting and ordering gifts early will save money and ensure things arrive in plenty of time. Mailing early also gives your postie a fighting chance to deliver the huge surge in Christmas post on time."


Coleen Rooney was subjected to a £5,000 blackmail plot involving hundreds of personal family photos on her stolen camera, a court has heard.

Jennifer Green, 25, and Steven Malcolm, 42, both from Manchester, are accused of demanding the cash from the celebrity wife of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney.

Both defendants, who deny the charges, were arrested after Coleen Rooney's mobile phone went missing while at a concert at the MEN Arena in Manchester in May 2010. Green's partner, Lee Platt, has already admitted handling stolen goods and blackmail, the jury at Manchester Crown Court heard.

Deborah Gould, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution case is that these two defendants together with Lee Platt, who is the partner of Jennifer Green, came into possession of the camera and the memory card, and then sought by unlawful means to make money out of the situation.

"It would have been obvious to anyone who saw the contents of the memory card who the images on it were of and that they were personal family photographs of the Rooney family. Most importantly however, they would have realised, and did, that their contents had a commercial value because of the fact of Coleen and Wayne Rooney's celebrity.


The board of Lloyds Banking Group is expected to decide this week whether chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is fit enough to return to work.

The Portuguese banker, who was signed off work last month with exhaustion, has already had one-to-one meetings with some non-executive directors about continuing in his post.

More discussions are set to take place this week before Thursday's board meeting, when a decision on Mr Horta-Osorio's future may be made, the Sunday Times said.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the Treasury's 41% stake in Lloyds, is also understood to have told the bank it is happy for him to carry on.



Millions of Christmas shoppers hit the stores this weekend, helping to boost dwindling retail figures.

Retailers across the UK slashed their prices to entice shoppers into stores over what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

More than 1.5 million shoppers flooded London's West End, spending £180 million on Saturday, the New West End Company, which represents 600 traders in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, said.

The company anticipates that a further £100 million will go through the tills on Sunday, with people taking advantage of weekend-only discounts and give-aways - and the added incentive of traffic-free streets on Oxford Street and Regent Street.

Richard Dickinson, chief executive of the New West End Company, said: "Christmas has really gone off with a bang this weekend. Based on past experience we were confident that despite the slow start to seasonal spending, shoppers would get the tills ringing over the next two weeks but this weekend has exceeded expectations.

"Compared to VIP Day last year, when Sunday saw traffic come back into the area, retailers are reporting significant rise in sales, with winter fashion and technology the most popular items.

"It's a real shoppers market out there with stores offering discounts of up to 50% and the tactic is working with £20 million going through the tills in the first three hours of Saturday's trading."


The owner of Hungry Horse and Loch Fyne Restaurants has said that 3,000 new jobs are on the menu as it gears up for more growth in the eating-out market.

Suffolk-based Greene King wants to create the roles over three years as part of plans to boost its estate to 1,100 managed pubs and restaurants, up from the 950 it has now.

The expansion has been driven by strong food sales as consumers trade down from more expensive restaurant-only competitors.

Greene King said new sites and strong demand helped total food sales jump 16.3% in the first six months of its financial year. Overall revenues were a record £527.5 million, up 9% on a year earlier, and meant profits for the group lifted by 5.6% to £73.1 million in the six months to October 16.

The company said there were more opportunities for growth.


A political blogger has been summoned to appear before the Leveson Inquiry into press standards after evidence from former Number 10 communications chief Alastair Campbell was leaked online.

Mr Campbell submitted papers containing a string of potentially-damaging claims to lawyers ahead of his appearance before Lord Justice Leveson next week.

But a link to the 16-page document today appeared on the Order-order website run by Paul Staines, under the name Guido Fawkes. Writing on his blog, Mr Staines highlights contentious elements in Campbell's evidence and claims to have obtained the papers legally.

A statement issued by the Leveson Inquiry read: "Lord Justice Leveson was extremely concerned to hear that, on November 27 2011, a copy of the evidence that Mr Alastair Campbell intended to provide to the inquiry was published on the 'Guido Fawkes' website.

"The website asserts that this statement was obtained by 'legal means' but Lord Justice Leveson will be enquiring further into this claim and Mr Paul Staines will be required to give evidence."

Mr Campbell, a former Daily Mirror journalist and spin doctor to Tony Blair, said he was "genuinely shocked" to see his evidence in the public domain.

His statement will now be published on the inquiry website on Monday, rather than on Wednesday following his appearance as would be the norm.


Ministers are to order a review of the nursery school free milk scheme claiming abuse of the system means the Government is being billed up to £1 a pint.

Internal Department of Health audits revealed middlemen are charging around double the retail cost under a "scam" that is costing taxpayers an extra £10 million a year.

A loophole in the system means the Government is obliged to pick up the bill, regardless of cost, submitted by firms that are acting as schools' go-between with suppliers.

Government sources insisted every eligible child will continue to receive their free milk despite the planned shake-up of the service next year. One option that will be considered is setting up a system of national suppliers to cut out the middlemen.



Allowing tenants to buy their council homes for as little as half the value will not solve the housing crisis, Labour has claimed.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are due to unveil the Government's housing strategy on Monday, which is expected to include offering right-to-buy discounts of up to 50%.

The maximum reduction currently allowed is £38,000 but that would rise to £76,000 in areas with the highest property prices, according to the Times. On average, council home discounts would double from £26,000 to £52,000. Other measures in the package, which is aimed at reviving he housing market and solving the UK homes shortage, include restoring rules allowing first-time buyers to be able to apply for 95% mortgages, it was reported.


British Gas is planning to cut around 850 jobs after reviewing resource levels in its services business, the company has announced.

The cuts, revealed just hours after grim new unemployment figures, will focus on management and support roles, said the firm.

A statement said: "Household budgets are stretched, customers are looking for maximum value for money, and if we are going to remain competitive and offer the best prices for our customers, we need to reduce our costs.

"We have therefore reviewed resource levels in our services business, and are now proposing a reduction of around 850 roles.

"We will work to ensure continued high levels of service for our customers. We will now move into a consultation period to discuss these proposals in more detail with our people and their representatives.