Brighton and Hove looks forward to bumper Christmas after first weekend goes with a swing (From The Argus)
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Brighton and Hove looks forward to bumper Christmas after first weekend goes with a swing
Shopping centres and stores across Brighton and Hove and across Sussex enjoyed a bumper weekend as the build up to Christmas began.
Stores reported a busy Saturday and Sunday as shoppers started to get into the festive spirit and step up their preparations for Christmas and new year.
With less than four weeks to go before the big day, businesses are already seeing a rise in demand, as shoppers snap up the latest gadgets, browse through bookshops as they look for the perfect gift.
Traders in the city are hoping to end the year in style by putting the effects of the recession behind them and get a much needed boost in trade and profits.
Thousands headed for Churchill Square in Brighton this weekend where shops including Debenhams and BHS were already offering discounts of up to 30% on goods.
Former glamour model Katy Price was spotted in Debenhams on Friday shopping for perfume and hand cream.
The Apple Store and Marks and Spencer were also reportedly busy over the weekend.
The free parking planned in Brighton and Hove for next weekend and the following two Sundays in the run up to Christmas is expected to add to the numbers visiting the city.
Christmas decorations and lights helped add to the atmosphere, with many stores adding their own touches.
Staff at Gresham Blake in Bond Street, Brighton, have set up a display called Angel of the North Laine, and took time out to give the giant Santa in their window a hug.
Peter Allinson from the North Laine Trader’s Association runs the Whirligig toy shop and Temptations cafe.
He said: “We have had a fantastic weekend. Overall, compared to the same weekend last year, we are about 50% up.
“Last year we had 14 Saturdays of rain between October and December and it had such an impact. But this weekend was great. There was lovely weather on Saturday and we basically broke all records.
“Both shops couldn’t have been any more full and it was like that throughout the day on Saturday and on Sunday.
“There was a great atmosphere and you could feel that people were just enjoying being out and about in Brighton.
“I’m hoping this is not just a one off and it is going to carry on over the next few weekends. It puts everyone in a really buoyant mood and hopefully we will have a great end to the year.”
Jade Ormesher, duty manager at Dirty Harry’s in Sydney Street, said: “It’s been a very good weekend. We have had a lot of people in and things are looking good for the run up to Christmas.”
Sanjar Qian, of Rocket Science toy shop in Trafalgar Street, Brighton, said: “We have been very busy. This was the first time this year we felt that Christmas had really started to kick off.
“This is only our second Christmas as we opened a year and a half ago but things are looking good.
“We rely a lot on word of mouth and recommendations. A lot of people have got to know about us over the last year and we are now seeing the effects of that. It is looking like we are going to have a good year.”
Adam Campbell from the Western Road Traders Association, who runs Gill’s Home and Garden, said: “We have had a good and busy weekend.
“We recently brought in a supply of 50 of our special pot grown Christmas trees and half of them have gone already.”
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