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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Hundreds of thousands of Xmas shoppers descend on Carlisle

FOOTWEAR and fashion were among the best sellers as thousands flocked to festive sales.

Traders breathed a huge sigh of relief as 275,000 bargain-hunters passed through The Lanes Shopping Centre in Carlisle during the week before Christmas – 11,000 up on the same time last year.

More than 31,000 savvy shoppers turned out for the Boxing Day sales with prices slashed by up to 75 per cent in many stores.

David Jackson, The Lanes’ commercial director, said that footfall was four per cent up on last year when 264,000 people had visited the shopping centre in the run-up to Christmas.

He said: “It is a really good shot in the arm for our retailers. Over the last couple of weeks business has been good.

“People have been selective about what they spend and when they spend it.

“But a number of footwear and fashion retailers have been trading exceptionally well.”

With Christmas falling on a Tuesday this year, Mr Jackson said that retailers had enjoyed a “full trading week” in the lead up to December 25. He added that customers getting paid that little bit earlier this year had also helped trade.

He said that people spending later had now become the norm with a “standoff” as shoppers waited to see if retailers would slash their prices.

Meanwhile, Gretna Gateway has seen good trade “across the board”, with fashion, food, perfume shops and sportswear all doing well.

Lisa McNab, marketing assistant at the outlet village, said December had been their best ever month while 2012 had been their best year to date.

She hoped this week would prove to be their best week of trading ever but that they were still awaiting the final figures.

The Boxing Day sales scramble may be over but there were still plenty of shoppers on the lookout for bargains.

Martin Hewitson, 40, originally from Harraby in Carlisle and now living in Hanover, Germany, was out shopping on the high street with his wife Annette.

“I have got DVDs and clothes from Marks & Spencer and we will definitely come back,” he said.

Wayne Steel, 33 was enjoying the relative peace and quiet outside Quiz in The Lanes yesterday while his wife Emma, 29, looked for shoes and a matching outfit.

Emma, of Waterman’s Walk, said: “We decided to leave it until after the Boxing Day rush. I will buy the shoes if I can find the outfit to match.”

Kerry Bell, assistant manager at The Fragrance, said that the biggest sellers so far had been Gucci Premiere and Hugo Boss Nuit.

Meanwhile, Diesel Tattoo and 007 had proved to be popular gifts for the boys.

Meanwhile, charity shops said they were expecting an influx of unwanted gifts.

Offers available in Carlisle city centre include Clothing store Bank offering up to 75 per cent off some products.

Among the best sellers were floral Doc Marten boots, reduced to £60 from £95.

“They are flying off the shelves,” said an assistant.

New Look was advertising tops from as low as £3, with some shirts at £7 and jeans from £8.

Celebrations on Bank Street is offering up to 75 per cent off on select gifts, with 50 per cent off Christmas card multi-packs.

On Boxing Day, there were long queues at Next in The Lanes and its sister childrenswear store, on English Street, which opened at 6am.

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