John Lewis says Britons are starting their Christmas shopping earlier than ever, with sales of Christmas-related products already up 12 per cent compared to a year ago.

The department store chain said “Christmas” had been the most popular search term on its website since August and that customers have already been buying festive gift-wrapping, artificial Christmas trees and baubles.

John Lewis is launching its Christmas displays at stores across the country today. Its flagship Oxford Street store in central London also has an indoor Christmas market housed in an atrium filled with more than 45,000 LED lights where shoppers can sign up for tree decorating workshops.

John Lewis has become the latest retailer to put up the Christmas decorations. (Photo: Matt Alexander/PA Wire).

The retailer said Britons are no longer satisfied with chocolate advent calenders and are instead looking for more creative varieties that include gin samples and beauty products.

Dan Cooper, a buyer at John Lewis, said demand for tall Christmas trees is also growing and the retailer has increased its stock of 9ft trees.

“Get ready to see trees grow taller, advent calendars become more luxurious and witness gin become the tipple of the season,” he said.

Most major retailers have already launched their Christmas displays, much to the dismay of some shoppers. Selfridges launched its Christmas shop on 1 August, almost five months ahead of the big day.

Christmas is the most important occasion of the year for retailers, with an estimated 25 per cent of all personal spending taking place in the five weeks before 25 December.

John Lewis will be hoping for a strong festive season as it revealed last week its profits had halved in the six months to the end of July due to rising prices and Brexit uncertainty.

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