Big spenders out in force for sales
Sunday 29 December 1996
City analysts said they believed that an above-average sale period will bring figures broadly back into line with earlier predictions of sales growth in December of about seven per cent over the same month last year, and justify the re-ratings of some retail shares over the past few months.
"It looks like the retailers were gearing up for a pre-Christmas rush along the lines of last year that never really materialised," said one stores analyst. "We believe that stock will shift faster over the next week or two, but it could mean that some weaker high street retailers will see their margins under pressure."
Early pedestrian traffic figures from shopping centres and large retail chains on Friday, the first day of the sales for many outlets, indicated that consumers were spending their money on the bargains, and doing more of their purchasing in out-of-town purpose built shopping centres than ever before.
The Meadowhall shopping centre near Sheffield reported a record 158,211 people coming through its doors on Friday, up from 149,000 on the same day in 1995. The Metro Centre in Gateshead, Tyneside, reported 140,000 visitors on a shopping day that started as early as 8.30am in most centres and continued until 9pm.
"Christmas started early for us, at the end of October. Business was very steady through November and the first three weeks of December," said Wilf Geldart, marketing manager of the Meadowhall centre. "Friday was a cracker, our busiest day ever. We expect a big rush this week and next."
A record 1.7m foreign visitors, spending close to pounds 200m, are expected over the holiday period.
There was evidence of a last-minute spending rush by customers in the two days leading up to Christmas. Natwest reported that its cash machines had dispensed pounds 72.5m on 23 December, a one-day record.
Barclays machines dispensed pounds 372.3m in the week before Christmas, a rise of 10 per cent. A record breaking pounds 8.8m was withdrawn across the country in the hour between 11am and noon on 23 December.
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Alton Towers closed after horror crash on The Smiler raises safety questions for theme park
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...