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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cumbria shops given boost by New Year sales

RETAILERS have reported a steady start to post-Christmas sales.

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Sale: Dickinsons in Carlisle closed to mark down stock

Pre-Christmas trading was disappointing until a late surge by shoppers gave the sector a boost.

David Jackson, commercial director of the Lanes Shopping Centre in Carlisle, said footfall figures for the week ending December 30 were down 3.0 per cent on 2011 at 225,000.

But that was a better performance than it appeared at first sight.

He said: “This year Christmas Day was on a Tuesday, while last year it was a Sunday, so last year we had a full week of trading and this year we haven’t.

“We are probably about level with last year and in the current climate that’s quite good.

“On Boxing Day we had 31,081 people through and last year it was 31,075.”

He added: “We have had some information from retailers about how things are going and it’s mixed. Some are doing better than last year, others aren’t.

“Most are happy with performance over the last fortnight.”

The bad news for bargain hunters is that many shops have cut stock levels so sale discounts are less generous.

Mr Jackson said: “Retailers may not be achieving the same volumes but they are protecting [profit] margins.”

Nationally, John Lewis was the first retailer to report Christmas trading figures yesterday, posting a 13 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the five weeks to December 29.

Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Next, Sainsbury and Tesco are all due to reveal figures by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, the last big sale to get underway in Carlisle started yesterday when furnisher Dickinsons began a ‘£2m stock sell-out’ to invited customers.

The store in Victoria Viaduct, formerly Chapmans, had been closed for more than a week to allow staff to mark down stock. Everything is reduced, some items by thousands of pounds.

Bargains included a Buoyant corner sofa reduced from £1,836 to £699 and a Duresta three-seater sofa and chair reduced from £5,651 to £2,599.

Bill Ferry, 63, who lives off Wigton Road, Carlisle, was first through the doors.

He said: “I’m after a bed but I’ll be on the look out if there are any other bargains to be had.”

Dickinsons sent invitations to 20,000 people on its mailing list who have priority for the first two days.

The sale is open to the general public from tomorrow.

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