Upturn to continue in 2014

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Shopkeepers in Belper have reported mixed festive trading, as a three per cent dip in footfall was reported across the East Midlands.

A slow build-up to Christmas was evident at many independent retailers in the town, as the rise in internet shopping continued, with online spending in November up 10 per cent on a year ago.

However some experienced a last-minute rush in the final hours as savvy shoppers left it late to grab bargains.

Food sales in particular were booming throughout the Yuletide celebrations in Belper, with trade thought to be well up on last year.

Wendy Moore, owner of Fresh Basil in Belper, said: “They have been queueing out of the door. - it’s been complete madness. Cheese and hampers have been selling very well.

“I think profits will be up compared to the last two years.”

Meanwhile at Lester & Nix on King Street, trade had been good, but hampered by a lack of new technology.

General Manager, Ian Cartledge, said: “People seemed to be saving up for the sales. It’s been steady here but you can always say you could have done better.

“TVs and washers have been selling well. However, there’s been nothing new like blu-ray for people to buy.”

At De-Bradelei Stores which re-launched with a new floor opening and gift departments 12 months ago trading had been variable.

Marketing Manager, Simon Scott, said: “We had a slow build-up to Christmas. The huge boom has not really hit. However, because we have made a lot of changes in the store we have no like for like trading period to compare it to.

“Some things have exceeded predictions, while others have not. That it mainly down to the internet, which is our main competitor.

“New arrivals and branded ladies fashion and new gift lines have done well along with branded products such as Yankee Candle, Joules and Espirit.

“We have had quite a good response to our mail outs.”

In England the worst-hit region was the West Midlands, down 3.3 per cent, while in London shopper numbers dropped 2.7 per cent.

However the overall picture for Derbyshire going into the New Year was thought to be generally positive.

Tim Parker, President of the Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors are telling us they’re experiencing uplift in sales and activity and have greater confidence this will continue.”