'Encouraging' festive sales for town's independent shops
PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 December 2017
Weston's independent traders are hailing a 'very good Christmas period', as shoppers now delve into the January sales.
Despite the growing prevalence of online shopping, businesses are reporting a fruitful festive season.
The late-night shopping events on December’s Thursday evenings successfully lured customers into the town centre, and ‘mayhem’ ensued in the final rush for presents ahead of Christmas, according to Sam Walker, manager of High Street department store Walker and Ling.
He told the Mercury he was pleased with business over the festive season.
He said: “We have had a very good Christmas this year. Our new women’s brands Joules and White Stuff were particularly strong, and our menswear department is always busy in December. The final week before Christmas was mayhem.
“Footfall on the late-night shopping events was about in line with what we expected, and similar to the last few years.
“The Christmas lights are a fantastic asset to the town centre and there is always a nice vibe from shoppers during the late nights.”
Steve Finch, owner of Meadow Street jeweller Caboodle, said he was ‘encouraged’ by pre-Christmas trade.
He said: “You read in all the papers that it’s doom and gloom on the high street and internet sales are taking over, but we’re pleased with how this year has gone.”
And Mr Finch believes the tide may be turning for the town’s independent businesses, who ‘can offer the service you don’t necessarily get with large chains’.
He added: “I believe the independents who can offer you that individual item, which you won’t find elsewhere, are out there.
“It’s really important to support your local community and we’ve got great shops here in Weston. I hope people think about independent businesses more than they have in the past.
“If we don’t support the local and independent shops they will go, so Weston will become a faceless high street like a lot of the country is becoming.”
Mr Walker added he hopes the town’s untapped ‘potential’ can be unlocked in 2018.
He said: “I had hoped the BHS building would be occupied by now, and there are a few vacancies along the High Street.
“Perhaps, hopefully, 2018 will be the year Dolphin Square is finished and we’ll see the next stage of town centre regeneration.”