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York stores report rise in festive sales
YORK’S retail scene has experienced its best post-recession Christmas, bucking national trends.
Several of York’s leading independent retailers have seen a rise in takings over 2013’s festivities, compared to last year.
The news is backed up by newly released footfall figures for December, which are the highest ever recorded by the camera in Parliament Street, showing a rise of 7.2 per cent from last year.
Nicholas Brown, managing director of Browns in Davygate, said visitor numbers were up and that had been reflected in increased turnover. He said: “The last two years have been difficult, but it’s good to see there is hope in terms of the economy. This has been the best Christmas since the recession as we see more confidence coming back.“People have been very prudent over the last few years, but because they have been sensible looking after their budgets in the past we are now seeing that paying off with growth this Christmas.
“We have seen increased figures across all our departments. Even menswear is up; that is a good indicator of things recovering when menswear picks up.”
Adam Sinclair, managing director of Mulberry Hall, in Stonegate, said: “We have been very pleased with business in store and on line.
“We have seen a particularly strong growth online, but we have also been encouraged by people’s desire for Mulberry Hall’s traditional shopping environment.
“We are slightly ahead of last year, and it’s great to see figures going in the right direction. It is a very challenging time for retail irrelevant of being in a recession or coming out of one, but this certainly has been a very encouraging Christmas.”
City of York Council welcomed the rise in footfall, which has pushed total figures to the highest ever recorded for December since the camera was installed in 2009.
The current figures, taken from December 1 to 22, are recorded from a camera in Parliament Street which was activated 636,625 times over the period.
The figure is an increase from last year when it was activated 593,915 times, and is also higher than 2011 when the figure was 617,871.
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, deputy leader of the council said: “These figures demonstrate that the strong retail and cultural offering that the city centre has continues to draw residents and visitors at this time of year.”
York Retail Forum chairman Frank Wood, who also owns Braithwaite Jewellers in Goodramgate, believes trade has been boosted by kinder weather conditions and reported a ten per cent rise in takings.
He said: “I won’t know the full picture for York until the Forum meets in January to discuss Christmas trading but as far as we are concerned we are ten per cent up on last year, which is great news.
“The last two years have been particularly difficult because of the weather, and there is nothing more off-putting to shoppers than bad weather. This year has been much kinder to us, and we are already seeing the benefit of that.”
National reports say three quarters of British retailers discounted their prices ahead of Christmas, by an average of 46 per cent, but shopper numbers were down by 5.7 per cent last week nationally compared to last year.
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