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Traders cash in just days before Christmas - despite appalling weather
The weekend's dismal weather failed to keep festive shoppers away as traders cashed in just days before Christmas.
Hardy shoppers braved gale-force winds and driving rain to get the best deals before the big day on Wednesday.
Shopkeepers told The Argus they considered “one in, one out” policies while others were forced to order emergency stock to keep the shelves full.
The weekend was billed as the biggest shopping weekend of the year with Christmas Day falling midweek.
Despite the atrocious weather, gift shop This is Not A Butchers, in Bond Street, Brighton, returned record sales.
Mark Allan, the store’s manager, said: “It has been crazy. It has been so busy in the shop that we almost had to close the doors and operate a one in one out system.
“This is only our second year but I would say we are up 60% to 70% this December to last.
“The weather didn’t keep people away on Saturday. I think thosewho had left it so late had to get out and do it anyway. We’re delighted.”
Eric Danot, of Bonsai Ko in Sydney Street, Brighton, said: “It only really started for me the last couple of days but it’s been crazy. I haven’t looked yet but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m up on last year.”
Mike Levy, of art gift shop Castor and Pollux in King’s Road Arches, said: “The weather was bad on Saturday but those who came in did spend.”
This year has also seen the introduction of free parking at a number of council car parks on the three Sunday’s running up to Christmas.
While traders said it was difficult to know the full impact, Warren Morgan, leader of the council’s Labour group, said the scheme had benefited both businesses and hardpressed families.
However, it wasn’t all good news for traders with the city’s Federation of Small Businesses declaring a “disappointing” December for many.
Chairman Trevor Freeman said: “I don’t think it has been as positive as most would have liked.
“I think more and more people are nowdoing their shopping on the internet. Also families have less money available to spend. The high street giants have also experienced this.
“At the weekend Marks and Spencer dropped prices by 30%.
Unfortunately, small businesses cannot afford to do the same.”
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