Retailers ‘happy’ with festive sales

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DESPITE atrocious weather conditions across the North east of Scotland in the run up to Christmas, retailers in Inverurie report that they are, in the main, happy with sales at what is their busiest time of the year.

Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures didn’t seem to put off Christmas shoppers with large crowds out and about in Inverurie in the weeks prior to the festive break. However the snow did make driving and parking difficult and some retailers expressed disappointment in Council efforts to clear pavements especially in the main retail area.

Keith Whyte of Mitchells Dairy said that the weather had been “challenging” and that he was disappointed with the standard of the snow clearing, but said that Mitchells staff had, like a lot of other local retailers, taken it upon themselves to keep the pavement outside the shop clear, and also the car park.

In fact Mitchells were complemented by customers as having the best cleared car park many had seen. He noted that a number of retailers had made a concerted effort to keep pavements clear.

Keith said, “I did noticed that many people, because of the conditions were not shopping and browsing but rather waiting and doing one big weekly shop. Overall though we were happy enough considering the conditions”.

He added that retailers in Inverurie were set to make a more concerted effort to continue to grow Inverurie as retail centre, with plans to form a retail committee as part of the Inverurie Business Association.

Ian Sinclair of Sinclairs of Inverurie also expressed disappointment at efforts to keep pavements clear at their “busiest time of the year.”

He said, “It appears that there were no efforts made to clear the pavements, and I’m sure this, and the weather, made many people loathe to come out.”

He questioned why the Council couldn’t have made more of an effort, particular in the main retail area of Inverurie saying it was “very disappointing”.

He added, “It seemed to be a lack of organisation and planning at the Council.” He thought that the Council probably miscalculated how many people retailers actually employ and contribute to the local economy.

With regards to sales, he said that they had traded well but due to the weather “probably not quite as good as predicted”.

However Sinclairs was “really busy the week prior to Christmas”, and that Inverurie had a really good retail reputation, but that some in the Council should “hang their heads in shame”.

One local retailer that had absolutely no complaints regarding the wintry weather was Craigdon Mountain Sports, many of whose products, such as skiing equipment and winter clothing, were particularly suited to the weather conditions.

Gordon Lee of Craigdon said, “It was very good for winter products in fact it was our busiest December on record. For example we have sold a record amount of “Yaktrax” which fit over shoes and boots to prevent slipping”. Graeme Ross of Inverurie craft bakers J G Ross was also generally happy, saying, “Sales have varied, the weather affected pedestrian sales areas but not supermarkets, however it was fairly good overall.

One customer ordered 600 dozen rolls, so December was pretty strong.”

Regarding the weather conditions he said, “Our location next to the A96 is very convenient, and we made sure that we regularly cleared our site. Additionally our drivers know the local roads, and our staff are very dedicated.”