Austere times boost festive savings

SAVINGS and voucher firm Park Group today reported a 37 per cent leap in Christmas savings as it said economic hard-times were driving people to put more money aside.

The group said Christmas savings rose to 5.8m as consumers worried about losing their job or struggling to get credit squirrel money away to make sure they can buy presents in the festive season.

The average amount saved rose 6.9 per cent to 401.

The company, which also sells vouchers to businesses, said revenues were up by 49 per cent to 50.9m in the six months to September 30.

It normally makes a loss in the first half of the year, but made 1m pre-tax profits in the period as a result of its improved performance and a VAT rebate.

Managing director Chris Houghton said the company was already taking orders for Christmas in 2011 and expected to benefit from the Government's spending cuts, which would encourage more consumers to save with Park.

"Our business has always done well in austere times as people prepare for an expensive time of year," he said.

"Credit is harder to get and is expensive and there's more general prudence as people want to avoid getting into debt."