Steady but unspectacular Christmas trade

By Dan Santy Monday 07 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 12:14

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Buy photos » Aftab Gaffar of Rugby First has reported steady trade in the town over Christmas. 30.011.058.rug.jg

TRADERS in the town have reported a steady but unspectacular festive season.

A mixed report was given by businesses in Rugby, with two slow weeks at the start of December followed by an upturn in the last two weeks to make up for the sluggish start.

Town centre management company Rugby First collects trading figures each year to see how businesses have done over Christmas.

Operations director Aftab Gaffar said some clothing, gift, jewellery and budget stores had done well, reporting year-on-year increases of as much as eight per cent.

But others, namely gift and beauty shops, found they were slightly down on the year, with others reporting no change between 2011 and 2012.

The number of people recorded as visiting the town to shop remained the same, according to Mr Gaffar.

He said: "Our free parking after 3pm initiative during November and December, I believe, has helped towards bringing shoppers in town.

"We also sent out 17,000 vouchers to homes and schools of which 13 per cent have been redeemed, generating over £40,000 worth of spend in our shops and cafes.

"The town Santa's grotto was also good with nearly 600 children visiting and plenty of parents choosing to shop in Rugby whilst they were here."

Mike O'Connor, owner of J Parriss Jewellers on Regent Street and spokesman for Rugby's independent stores, said: "It was tough trading over Christmas as expected but we finished up pleased with the results.

"There's plenty of room for improvement for next year. For example, all retailers agree we should have late night opening times and longer Sunday trading hours."

Mr O'Connor added an attraction or musical act on Regent Street, the town's independent quarter, could boost Christmas trade there.

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