Strong Christmas for town centre shops

Christmas shoppers brave the stormy weather in Aylesbury's High Street on December 23
Christmas shoppers brave the stormy weather in Aylesbury's High Street on December 23

Shops in Aylesbury reported that takings were up on last year as the town enjoyed a strong Christmas period.

Good pre-Christmas sales were followed by a rush of shoppers at the sales which started on Boxing Day.

More than 400 peoplequeued outside Next, in Hale Leys Shopping Centre, early in the morning on December 26.

Next assistant store manager Heidi Barnett said: “We have been really busy over Christmasand the queues have been larger than we expected.

“We always have enough staff available to deal with the influxes of people because none of our staff are allowed time off in the run-up to Christmas.

“I also think the fact that everything is half-price at the store over Christmas really helps to draw people in.”

Rob Rowse, area manager at Toys UK, also based in Hale Leys, said his store had enjoyed similar success over the festive period.

Mr Rowse said: “We have had another great Christmas and we have sold really well on children’s toys again this year.

“We have also made a real effort to lower our prices this year across the board and in tough economic times we think of it as our way of helping our customers out.”

Another shop celebrating an improvement on the previous Christmas is Solitaire 
Jewellers, based in Friars Square Shopping Centre.

Peter Desmond, a partner at Solitaire, which has moved premises as part of the new-look Friars Square, said sales had been ‘pleasing’.

“Once again,it has been a fantastic few days around Christmas,” he said.

“It has been our first Christmas at our new space next to Topshop and we are very pleased with how it has gone.”

Despite sales of turkeys being down at Tilburys Butchers in Market Square, owner Colin King said it had still done well before Christmas.

Mr King said: “Although we have sold fewer turkeys we have sold more turkey breasts and more meat this year.

“It is getting tougher in the current climate for us because in the main the numbers of people shopping have gone down. We are definitely not as busy now as we were 10 years ago but this is still our best time of year.”