Shoppers brave storms in race to get Xmas bargains

HOWLING gales and bursts of torrential rain didn't keep shoppers at home over the weekend with malls and department stores reporting their best sales figures of the year.

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With red-ticket price reductions in many stores, bargain hunters have waited until the last weekend before Christmas to finish their present buying.

Shoppers queued outside Braehead before it opened on Saturday and were still there at midnight when it closed, according to general manager Gary Turnbull.

He said: "On a night when normally people are out with their friends in pubs and clubs we were very busy up to 10.30pm and then there were the really keen shoppers who were buying Christmas presents right up to when we closed at midnight.

"I expect the same will be the case today."

For the second day in a row yesterday people were queuing before the centre opened and some stores opened half an hour early.

It has been a record-breaking week at John Lewis, with sales 4% up on the previous year, according to Ken Miller, operations manager of the Glasgow store. He said there had been a late surge in shoppers over the weekend.

He said: "We've been exceptionally busy, we were well up on Saturday and are on course for another good day," The weather doesn't seem to have put people off."

The biggest sellers are iPads with John Lewis selling one every 10 seconds across the UK. Specifically in Glasgow, popular purchases have been on jewellery and haircare products such as straighteners and hairdryers.

This weekend Silverburn reported a 20% year-on-year rise in footfall.

It is change of pace on Scotland's high streets after figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium revealed a 0.8% drop in like-on-like retail sales in November. Last month, Scotland saw the lowest growth in pre-Christmas shopping sales in eight years.

This year is set to be another cracker according to Union Square, Aberdeen, with the mall reporting an 8.5% increase on last year. Techy gadgets like tablets, headphones and e-readers are the big sellers.

Online retailer Amazon has said this year will see record Christmas Day sales. Its Boxing Day sale will begin a day early and transactions are expected to peak at 8.30pm.

Historically, Amazon has seen Christmas Day gift card sales peak at 10am, while the most popular time for digital downloads is noon as new gadgets are put to use before lunch. Sales dip at 3pm in time for the Queen's Speech.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer expects to sell six million packs of party food over the festive season and 1.2m individual Christmas puddings. The chain sells one in four turkeys bought over the Christmas period.


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