The good news continues for retailers as shoppers keep on spending and the latest BRC figures report an increase in sales for August. But will the momentum continue and the tills keep ringing for the crucial Christmas and New Year sales period?

All the indicators that consumer confidence is slowly returning are there. It’s the seventh month of retail sales growth and Gfk recently reported that British shoppers are more optimistic than at any time since October 2009. Certainty in economic recovery looks more solid with news that housing prices are up, mortgage lending is at a five-year high and last month unemployment dropped.

From a brand perspective, we have already seen some positive signs for Christmas this year with retailers starting to announce their ‘top gift’ predictions. For the first time in six years games giants Xbox and PlayStation will release new consoles in November, both are anticipated to take poll positions in Currys’ and PC World’s lists of festive bestsellers.

Tablets such as the iPad and Nexus 7 are expected to continue to grow on their resounding success last year as a stocking must-have – Dixons alone reported that tablets had been a main driver in their 2012 Xmas sales success and the International Data Corporation reported that tablets sales would continue to grow at a rapid pace.

Currys and PC World have also flagged the nation’s burgeoning numbers of amateur photographers and our love of ‘proper’ coffee at home as potential drivers of festive growth this year for digital SLR cameras and coffee machines.

Against this positive backdrop is the news from Company Watch that there are 20,000 high street stores on the brink of closure, which puts more pressure on retailers to reevaluate their physical environment and take a more cohesive multichannel approach.

As consumers empowered by the latest technology continue to want what they want, where they want it, when they want it and how they want it, retailers that respond flexibly, delivering to increasing demands and ensuring a real role for their bricks and mortar environment will end up being the winners of Xmas 2013.

Adam Tregaskis