10:11 Monday 30 December 2013

Town centre trade picks up after Christmas lull

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

Emilie Duclos owner Margaret Button, Talking about fuel costs Emilie Duclos owner Margaret Button, Talking about fuel costs

TRADERS are expecting trade to pick up in the New Year period after town centre footfall suffered in the run-up to Christmas.

The Advertiser reported on Christmas Eve how, compared to previous years, shops were experiencing reduced trade as Christmas Day approached.

The rise online and retail park shopping were blamed for poor footfall.

However, many of the shops re-opening on Friday after a Christmas break were already seeing things pick up.

Karen Fallon, owner of Emma’s Cookshop, in Carter Street, said her business was one that has performed well throughout the festive period.

She said: “We don’t open on Boxing Day as we see it as family time and I think our customers appreciate that we’re a traditional business in that sense.

“I know many people reported poor footfall leading up to Christmas but our business was actually very good.

“And we’re now open for business as normal after the break.

“Now is traditionally quite a busy time for us as people bring Christmas gifts bought here back to the shop for guidance and advice on how to use them.”

Clair Atherton, owner of Daisy Chain gift shop, also in Carter Street, said she had also shunned the idea of holding Boxing Day sales.

She said: “It’s mainly the big shopping centre stores that hold Boxing Day sales.

“There’s not much point doing it in a small town like Uttoxeter as the footfall in town would be far too low.

“Also, we think Boxing Day is a day for family to spend together.

“We’re sorting out our post-Christmas sale out today, which always increases trade for us.

“Already today town is quite busy and that’s an encouraging sign for us and our high street peers.”

Emilie Duclos flower shop owner Margaret Button was arranging fresh stock when the Advertiser went to visit her.

She said: “I live in town and got up at 1.30pm on Boxing Day.

“There were about six cars in the Maltings car park.

“That illustrates why it’s just not worth opening on Boxing Day.

“Today the store isn’t open as we don’t have fresh stock so I’m sorting that out now.

“The rest of the staff have some more time off as a massive thanks for all their hard work in 2013.

“And I’m expecting post-Christmas trade to be very good, as it usually is for us.

“There are special occasions, funerals and the like all year round so people always need out services.

“Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day are the three major trading times for our company.”

The Advertiser reported two weeks ago how festive trade was not as good as expected in Uttoxeter.

Lorna Eldergill, owner of Metastone, in Market Place, said: “It’s a sign of the times, people shop more and more online.

“No one at the council seems to care about the state of the high street – they don’t think about small businesses, but instead focus on the retail parks.

“I don’t think they realise that when the smaller shops have moved out of the town centre they won’t come back.

“The fact that Buxton and Bonnett closed down last month and they have been here since 1909 tells you things have changed.”

Four high street shops have been forced to closed in the last four months.

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