As John Lewis marks its start to the festive period with the release of its Christmas video, Ciara Lee reports on whether holiday retail spending can help boost growth in the UK and further afield in the euro zone.
For some it signals the countdown to Christmas - the launch of the John Lewis holiday advert. But sentiment aside, retailers in the UK have been gearing up for the festive period for months. Britain's economy grew faster than any other big developed nation last year and is on course to be in the top pack for 2015. Bank of England governor Mark Carney says spending is key. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BANK Of ENGLAND GOVERNOR, MARK CARNEY, SAYING: "In contrast to the global picture, and despite ongoing fiscal consolidation, domestic momentum remains resilient. Consumer confidence is firm, real income growth is expected to be the strongest since the crisis." The IMF has forecast that British growth will slow to 2.2 percent next year from 2.5 percent this year. But World First economist Jeremy Cook says the Christmas splurge won't be impacted. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHIEF ECONOMIST AT WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "Inflation pressures aren't likely to really start to hit consumers' pockets until Q1 when belt tightening normally occurs. You'd have to say that late November, early December, all you are going to hear in the UK are the ring of cash registers." Less of Christmas cracker could be the euro zone. Retail sales slipped there for the first time in six months in September. But the European Commission says despite global growth concerns, the euro zone will pick up its recovery in the next two years. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHIEF ECONOMIST AT WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "For all the chatter at the beginning of the year around Greece and all the chatter around Germany for example now, isn't doing too badly in the grand scheme of things. I wouldn't be surprised if retail spending in December managed to continue that." Leading the way - Spain. It's seen bumper sales in recent months and could help provide some sparkle for the bloc's Christmas spending.