New Year sales start early
The double-whammy of arctic conditions and a VAT rise in the New Year means retailers are now doing everything they can to get customers into their stores or onto their websites. So, if you've got money to spare this Christmas or still have some last-minute shopping to do, check out our round up of the best Christmas sales.
Read our article: Get spending to beat the VAT hike
Try our new VAT calculator to find out how much you will pay after the VAT rise on 4 January.
GAP: Up to 50% off women's, men's and kid's fashion. Go to Gap.eu and sign up to the store's email newsletter and you can also get an additional 15% off voucher for use in store or online.
French Connection: Up to 50% off in store and online on dresses, jackets, shoes, bags, accessories and jewellery.
Jones The Bootmakers: All sale items now half price or less.
Warehouse: Up to 50% off women's fashion.
Oasis: Still need something for the party season? Impressive discounts on partywear
BHS: Up to 50% off women's, men's and kidswear, home, furniture and lighting.
B&Q: Sale includes up to 60% off kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Debenhams: Christmas spectacular - up to 20% off all departments and 40% off selected lines.
Boots: Up to 50% off fine fragrances , better than half price on Christmas gifts and 3 for 2 on 100s of toys.
Early Learning Centre: Up to half price off certain toys, 3 for 2 on stocking fillas.
Office: Up to 75% off shoes.
WH Smith: Up to 60% off gifts and upto 75% off best-selling books.
Comet: Up to 50% off gifts including cameras, coffee makers and laptops.
Sainsbury's: Up to 75% off selected toys both in store and online
Tesco: Up to 50% off toys both in store and online
Topshop: Get up to 50% off women's fashion
Matalan: Get 50% off in store at the fashion retailer, in its ongoing clearance sale.
Miss Selfridge: Get 50% off in store as part of its mid-season sale. There's no end date yet but it's expected to last until stocks run out.
Topman: Get up to 70% off in store at Topman in its mid-season sale. Expect discounts off t-shirts, shirts, jumpers and jackets.
Mothercare: Mothercare is offering up to 50% off selected items, with discounts on a range of products, including clothing, maternity items and toys.
Invented by a Frenchman in 1954 and ironically introduced in the UK on 1 April 1973, VAT is an indirect tax levied on the value added in the production of goods and services, from primary production to final consumption and is paid by the buyer. Its levying is complex, with a number of exemptions and exclusions. For example, in the UK, VAT is payable on chocolate-covered biscuits, but not on chocolate-covered cakes and the non-VAT status of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes was challenged in a UK court case to determine whether Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit. The judge ruled that the Jaffa Cake is a cake, McVitie’s won the case and VAT is not paid on Jaffa Cakes in the UK.