Superstores win pre-Christmas sales battle

Christmas finally came for Yorkshire retailers over the weekend but while the High Street clawed back sales from the internet small traders warned this year was proving to be the season of the superstore.

Analysts had warned that the weekend was critical for retailers, after Christmas shopping was disrupted on the first Saturday in December and with Christmas also falling on a Saturday.

Howard Archer, chief UK & European Economist for IHS Global Insight, said the freezing weather had delayed deliveries and caused shoppers to stay at home.

He said many retailers were hoping for sales to be lifted in the final days of the year from consumers looking to make purchases – particularly of big ticket items – ahead of January's VAT rise.

Shopping centres across the region, included Princess Quay and St Stephen's in Hull, the Brunswick Centre in snow-bound Scarborough, and the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds reported brisk business, however, as the public enthusiasm for online shopping was dented in the face of growing uncertainty about whether orders for Christmas could arrive in time.

But while the White Rose welcomed about 38,000 customers on Sunday, only 70 crossed the doorstep of All Seasons fruit and veg business in Union Street, Filey, which took just 200 between 7am and 3pm yesterday, minus 50 for staff wages.

Owner Angela Cox said: "Most of my customers are elderly and they are frightened to go out their houses and I am having difficulties getting supplies through.

"I can normally take a week's takings in two days at Christmas. But the weather has been the big thing this year. It is the big stores, the one-stops like Tesco and Morrisons, where they can park and it's nice and warm, that have benefited."

Peter Kirk, a manager at the White Rose, said: "The problem is there have been lot more purchases made over the Net by people who can't get out their homes. But the delivery people could not get to them either.

"Most people have decided to buy off the shelves rather than risk not having it delivered."

Meadowhall in Sheffield reported evening footfall 50 per cent up on last year owing to opening until midnight until December 23,