Shoppers have been out in force in Ellon in the run-up to Christmas.
Tills have been ringing as some of the town’s traders have reported a busy festive sale period, while others say they have been quieter this Yuletide.
Overall businesses recorded good support for local stores.
Ellon Traders’ Association chairman Sean Buckle told the Times there has been a mixed picture across the town centre.
He said: “Some traders have seen an improvement, some not. A few have found this year more difficult than last.
“We saw the Christmas pick up as in previous years but again the amount varied by business - some did better than they did last Christmas and others did not.
“We expect some benefit from the free 30-minute parking initiative, mainly in convenience purchases, but it will be some time before we know what effect it has had.
“The Traders have supported many charities this year and have found customers to be as generous as in previous years.”
Upholstery proved to be a best seller at furniture and vintage store Willow Cottage this month.
Located in Neil Ross Square, the store has been running for 18 months, and offers upcycled pieces. country home accessories and vintage items.
The shop moved into a larger unit in the Square three months ago.
Owner Debra Buchanan said that the shop has been fairly steady in the run-up to Christmas.
She said: “The switching on of lights always feels like the start of seasonal trading and as usual it was a busy day. “Our really busy area is the upholstery and that seems to have been even busier than usual in the last month.
“We are closing for the Christmas period and reopen on Saturday, January 3, for what will hopefully be another busy year.”
Elsewhere, the new Aldi store has also been enjoying success as people geared up for the busiest time of the year.
The store opening hours have been increased in order to meet demand.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “Trading has been strong since Aldi opened its doors in Ellon in September and we have had a hugely positive response from local shoppers.
“Demand has continued over the Christmas period as a result of our wide range of seasonal and locally-sourced products, which are proving to be very popular.
“As a result of the store’s success, Aldi has applied for and been granted an extension of its opening hours in Ellon, which are now 8am-10pm on Monday to Saturday and 9am-7pm on Sundays.”
The town’s Tesco store expects this week to be their busiest as customers prepare for the last-minute rush.
A spokesman for the Tesco store said: “Trade is going very well and has been building for the last couple of weeks.
“There is quite a buzz in the store atmosphere, this has been amplified with a number of Christmas activities for customers and colleagues.
“We have been further able to enhance this with the recipients of the Tesco Helping Hand funds being announced.”