Sidmouth shops fare well this Christmas

Christmas trade steady for Sidmouth town centre shopkeepers

MILD weather and lack of town centre road closures helped make Christmas 2011 a better one for Sidmouth’s shopkeepers.

Last year’s snow and gas pipe replacement road closures caused grief among many traders, some of whom received compensation from Wales and West after complaining over their loss of trade.

Trevor Roberts, managing director of Fields of Sidmouth department store, said trade had built up during December “which was pleasing” and sales in the week before Christmas and before the new year had improved on last year.

“The first day of our sale we had a very strong trading day, there were a lot of visitors in the town,” he said.

“This two-week period is quite positive. We are expecting 2012 to be challenging, as others are in the retail industry.

“This much-needed injection of trade is very welcoming.”

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Mr Roberts said the High Street was having a tough time and hoped the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Olympics would help by giving shoppers “a feel good factor”.

The store’s reward card system now had more than 14,000 signed up to it, which was encouraging, he added.

John Davis of Humbug, who opened in Sidmouth’s Fore Street at the end of November 2010, said: “I am very pleased with the seasonal sales figures. It is difficult to compare because we were so new last year and not fully stocked, but it’s been a very positive festive period which has continued after Christmas as well.”

He said the mild weather had been “a blessing”.

Steven Kendall-Torry, who runs Pure Indulgence gift shop, was also positive about Christmas trading.

“We’ve had a really good Christmas, it has gone really well,” he said. “I’ve got nothing to complain about and I hope it continues into 2012.”

Steven said he had traded at a “steady rate” for the last quarter “as it used to be” and said if the weather remained mild he was encouraged this would continue through January to March.

“We’ve got a bit of a sale on for a shuffle round and all our customers have been upbeat and cheerful,” he added.

Jackie Feeney of Trumps said their store’s bespoke hampers had been popular this Christmas, and overall trading had been the same as last year.

She said the store had fared well in last year’s snow as it meant people shopped in town, and this year had been a “mixed bag”.