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Sales shoppers flock to Hammerson’s retail hubs

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Some 2.25 million shoppers visited real estate group Hammerson’s nine UK regional shopping centres in the last three days.

Consumers looking to make the most of the post-Christmas sales have helped the company record a 40 per cent year-on-year increase in footfall across its portfolio of centres, which includes London’s Brent Cross, Glasgow’s Silverburn and The Bullring in Birmingham.

Silverburn welcomed more visitors than ever before on December 23rd, with over 90,000 shoppers flocking to the retail hub as the big day approached.

Having closed for the afternoon on Saturday December 18th due to heavy snowfall, Brent Cross recovered to greet 90,000 consumers on December 27th - a record figure in its 34 years of trading.

Other Hammerson properties contributing to the business’s strong festive performance were Highcross in Leicester, Queensgate in Peterborough, The Oracle in Reading, WestQuay in Southampton and Cabot Circus, Bristol.

David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson, remarked: “We have seen some exceptional trading across our centres over the Christmas period.

“We have an excellent portfolio of centres in strong locations which, importantly for our retailers, are attracting a significant number of shoppers.”

“The festive sales period this year, with Boxing Day falling on a Sunday, followed by bank holidays on Monday and Tuesday has given customers a three-day shopping window which they have made the most of.”

Elsewhere, up-market department store Harvey Nichols said figures from this year’s sales period are up on 2009, with the half-price Dolce & Gabbana denim trim-coat selling out in the first hour of trading on Boxing Day.

Paul Smith products have been among the bestsellers in the retailer’s men’s departments across the UK too.

Positive trading activity in the aftermath of Christmas could be the last hurrah for retailers, though, as austerity measures and other economic pressures look set to hit shoppers hard in the new year.

In a statement released today, Helen Dickinson and Tim Clifford, retail partners at professional services firm KPMG, said: “Post-Christmas sales are now crucial to December’s results. But with few panic price reductions and little more than the expected amount of discounting, it’s likely that the sales season will quickly run out of steam.

“Many retailers have been carefully managing their stock positions to protect their margins where possible, in the expectation that Christmas 2010 would not be a blockbuster, irrespective of the weather.

“The industry knows it is in for a tough year ahead. As well as the VAT rise, customers are tightening their belts because they’re worried about prospects for their own jobs and personal finances in what are likely to be tougher economic conditions in 2011.”

Published on Wednesday 29 December by Editorial Assistant

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