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Monday 22nd of February 2010
December 21, 2009    

Capital Shopping Centres sees bumper Saturday despite snow

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by Kay Murchie

Capital Shopping Centres (CSC), which has stakes in 14 regional shopping centres including the Manchester Arndale, Lakeside in Essex and the Gateshead MetroCentre, said despite the snowfall over the weekend, retailers experienced their busiest weekend of the year.

Figures show that shoppers braved the weather after figures revealed that over seven million people have visited the group’s centres in the last week - an increase of 3% on the pre-Christmas week last year.

Trevor Pereira, commercial director at CSC, said: “We knew, being the last weekend before Christmas Day, that some last-minute panic shopping would happen.

“We have seen a spike in sales of traditional gifts, such as perfume sets, DVDs, gadgets for men and novelty toys for children,” added Mr Pereira.

In the meantime, the John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, continues to experience bumper sales despite the recession and has announced record sales during the week to the end of Saturday - the third successive week in which sales have beaten previous records.

The renowned employee-owned department store and owner of the Waitrose supermarket chain, said sales during the seven days to Saturday totalled £112 million - a rise of 15.5% compared with the same week in 2008.

John Lewis said sales of hats and scarves soared as freezing temperatures and snow set in, while luxury food items and games have also smashed previous highs.

As a result, Barclays is forecasting that consumers will spend a record £23 billion on their debit cards this month.

Furthermore, Sainsbury‘s Finance predicts that £10.6 billion will be withdrawn from cash machines this month - around £619 million more than in December 2008.

Economists had hoped for a busy December on the High Street as consumers take advantage of the lower VAT rate of 15%. VAT is set to revert back to the 17.5% rate on 1 January 2010.

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