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Mince pies are here! … as lockdown-weary Britons dream of Christmas extra early

Mince pies, Christmas puddings and treats are arriving in supermarkets this week – with many Britons apparently already planning for festive cheer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Panettone and stollen will be in Sainsbury’s stores on Wednesday, and a day later mince pies will be packing the shelves at Asda.

Tesco’s mince pies are in stock the week after, with more Christmas products appearing through the month – a mere three and half months ahead of the big day.

But John Lewis stole a march on all of them by going live with its online Christmas store a week ago – 10 days earlier than normal.

It said Christmas searches on its website more than tripled (370%) during August compared with last year – with the usual fare of baubles, trees, wrapping paper and cards on shoppers’ minds.

Its grocery operation, Waitrose.com, also saw a 42% spike on 2019.

Christmas pudding searches were up 75% and mincemeat up 400%, with people seemingly motivated to use the extra time at home by having a crack at their own pies.

“It looks as if people are looking forward to and planning for [Christmas] earlier than ever this year,” said John Lewis buyer Jason Billings-Cray.

“Christmas celebrations mostly take place in our homes and we have seen how the lockdown has made people think more about their homes, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people are already thinking about how they will decorate their homes this Christmas.”

The supermarket giants have been among the few businesses to fare well during the coronavirus crisis, with home deliveries increasing significantly and people stocking up on products when lockdown started.

But for numerous sectors of the economy it has been a disaster, with companies across the board shedding jobs on a daily basis.

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