SHOPKEEPERS in York say there are signs they seem to be riding out the recession, following a bumper festive season.
Local retailers say Christmas shopping has been buoyant this year, despite fears that the global economic crisis would hit sales.
Adam Sinclair, managing director of Mulberry Hall in Stonegate, said his firm’s in-store sales were up by eight per cent year-on-year, while online sales had soared by 40 per cent.
He said he was “particularly pleased” with Christmas trade, but said the snow over the last few days may yet reduce the increases.
“We have had a good year overall and that translated to Christmas,” he said.
“We worked very hard as a business to position ourselves and to market ourselves online, which has driven our retail business.”
Mr Sinclair also chairs the York Business Forum and said the feedback from other shopkeepers had also been good.
He said he thought the recession had persuaded more Brits to avoid foreign travel, and instead visit historic UK cities such as York and Bath.
Elsewhere, Cat Armitage, manager of novelty gift shop Give The Dog A Bone, in Fossgate, said: “We are actually doing a lot better than last year. It has been a very good time for us.
“Initially, we were more conservative with ordering but as time has gone on, we cannot really keep up with demand. A lot of suppliers were not expecting it.”
Louise Everington-Brown, manager of Palenque jewellery shop in Low Petergate, said the number of customers was similar to last year, but the average spend has increased. She said the economic uncertainty 12 months ago had made people cautious, but there appeared to be more willingness to spend now.
“We have definitely noticed that spend has increased a little this year compared to last year,” she said.
The York branch of troubled bookstore chain Borders looks set to close at the end of tomorrow. There were long queues in the shop in Davygate on Saturday, as the clearance sale continued, with posters declaring there were “four days to go”.