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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Practical gifts and traditional toys topped gift list this year

SHOPPERS were buying last-minute gifts in Whitehaven’s shops before Christmas, say traders – and the sales are set to be as popular as ever.

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Christ-mas rush: Last minute shoppers make the most of the last day on Christmas Eve

Business owners saw a rise in trade last weekend, although there are mixed reactions about sales figures.

Lavinia Garrett, deputy manager of Burton’s on King Street, said: “People have been doing last-minute shopping and some have left it too late. People have either had to order items or buy an alternative. So many people are doing internet shopping and they are being more cautious about what they buy.”

John Mason, of Mason’s on Roper Street, said: “It’s been terrible. We have been way down on previous years.The figures show we are down in sales compared to last year and the year before that. This is the worst out of the last three years. We have seen a 20 per cent loss of sales.”

He said the lack of shops in the town has affected trade.

Edy Brooks, of Treasure Chest on the Market Place, said: “We’ve done quite well for Christmas sales. A lot of people have been buying our traditional wooden toys and our reborn babies.

“It’s been swings and roundabouts. We have had people coming in and using their phone to read the barcodes on items, to go online to buy the products elsewhere. Other people have said they’ve bought things off the internet and it’s cheaper here. It’s worth looking in little shops for the bargains!”

Donald Dixon, of Dixons department store on Lowther Street, said there has been a slight increase in sales compared to last year.

He said: “People have been buying practical and useful things although we have seen a rise in the ornaments and figurines. We have seen a rise in the number of gift vouchers being bought for people to spend them in the sales.”

Shelley Williamson, of Strange Fruits on Market Place, said: “Everyone seems to have gone shopping in the last couple of weeks. Some people have bought online and their presents haven’t arrived, so they’ve come here. We hope it’s a positive experience for them and they’ll come back again next year.”

Gerard Richardson of Richardson’s Wine Merchants on Lowther Street, said: “We’ve had a really good Christmas with one of the days being our second best trading day since we started 18 years ago. Although overall, its still not quite recovered to pre-recession levels.”

He hopes that with the development of Albion Square, new business and shops will come into the town over the next 12 months.

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