harrods.jpgAfter weeks of grumbling, whining and surprisingly belligerent discounting, it seems this weekend, the Christmas fairies (in London, at least) finally granted retailers’ festive wishes, with a surprise upsurge in shoppers boosting pre-Christmas takings.A source told Smarta the Oxford Circus branch of music retailer HMV saw a jump of more than 80% in year-on-year sales, while the rest of London saw a 20% year-on-year rise over the weekend, with a million people spending about £120m on the capital’s streets.A spokesman for John Lewis, where computer games sales soared by 500%, told The Metro the company had expected the surge. “We have always felt with Christmas Day falling on a Thursday, Christmas will be coming late this year.“We had a nice increase over the weekend and we are expecting it to get even busier. Most people probably stopped work on Friday so they effectively have a five-day weekend,” he said.Sadly, while London’s retailers were celebrating, the news wasn’t quite so rosy elsewhere – on average, sales across the country were down 8.7% from last year, but retailers have remained resilient. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said even though sales are down, things are beginning to look up.“While conditions remain tough, retailers have reacted with high-profile price cuts and promotions,” said the group’s director general, Stephen Robertson.“This, together with the recent reductions in VAT and interest rates, has meant in the last few days shoppers have come out in force. Some retailers will now dare to breathe a sigh of relief that customers are simply delaying their Christmas spending, rather than cancelling it entirely.”On that cheery note, Smarta is taking a break over Christmas, but will be back at the beginning of January. Until then, merry Christmas – and here’s to a recession-busting 2009.Image by Beatbull on Flickr - vielen Dank!

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