Retailers could be in for a merry Christmas after all as new figures revealed shoppers withdrew more money last week than in the same period last year.

A total of £2.4bn was taken out of Link cash machines last week - a rise of 2% on the same period last year. Friday was the busiest day with £544m withdrawn, £23m more than in 2007, Link figures showed.

"Last week was key for spending. Despite the current climate, and a wet and cold weekend, shoppers were out in force," said Graham Mott, head of development at Link.