Festive shoppers give centre welcome boost

Most shops at Priory Meadow saw an increase in sales on last year. Photo by Tony Coombes.
Most shops at Priory Meadow saw an increase in sales on last year. Photo by Tony Coombes.

Romantic shoppers have set their eyes and hearts on the brightest of gems in the Christmas sales rush.

There’s definitely been festive love in the air, according to staff at H Samuel jewellers in the town’s Priory Meadow Shopping Centre.

Store manager Sophie Clarke said: “There seems to have been a mini boom in people getting engaged in Hastings, which is a really fantastic way to round off the year. It’s been lovely for us staff to see so many couples come in choosing rings.”

She added: “Though our final figures are not in yet, it definitely feels like they’re up on last year. We’ve had a really good run up to Christmas, helped enormously by all those engagements.”

Over at the Priory Shopping Centre’s Bonmarché fashion store there were plenty of smiles on the shop floor too as manager Karen Thompson reported ‘a shop full of people’ on the day after Boxing Day.

She said: “With December 27 also being a bank holiday this year, and the good weather we’ve had, people have had the chance to get out more and come and investigate the bargains we’ve got. I haven’t had chance to tot up our overall sales figures yet as I’ve been rushed off my feet, but that’s a good thing. It is definitely much busier than I thought it would be.”

Charlene Hutchinson, manager at The Perfume Shop, revealed a nine per cent rise in sales for Boxing Day 2016, compared to last year.

She said: “We were also extremely busy in the week before Christmas. Footfall was also driven by our company’s click and collect service so customers could look for and snap up bargains online, which they then came to collect in our branch. We’ve been fully staffed throughout and there’s been a good vibe going on during the sales.”

Priory Shopping Centre manager Stacey Bell said they would be counting up the total footfall figures for the holiday period once the New Year sales were over, but so far it was looking like the centre had defied many predictions for a poor 2016 sales period.

She said: “With the advent of click and collect and it having been a generally difficult year for the UK economy as a whole, many people forecast a severe downturn in the sales markets this year, but here at Priory Meadow we are doing well. Footfall has been spread over a longer time span this year because Christmas and New Year have fallen on weekends. But that means there have been more bank holiday days off for people to take advantage of, so it has not been a case of everyone coming in on one day. The usual influx has been spread out over a few days.”

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