Heavy snow has caused major disruption to customers and traders alike, as retailers battled the elements on the biggest weekend of the year.
Saturday and Sunday (December 18th and 19th) were the last two full shopping days before Christmas but hopeful gift buyers had to negotiate icy roads, delayed public transport and depleted retail offerings to complete their Christmas lists.
Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London was completely closed on Saturday and other retailers reported affected trade but an improvement in footfall on Sunday allayed retailers’ worst fears.
A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “There was disruption to retail trade over the weekend particularly on Saturday but the picture was not all bad.
“The weather was not ideal for what is a very important period for the industry but we still expect it to be the biggest weekend of the year for the UK’s retailers.”
The John Lewis Partnership reported a slight fall in retail sales last week but came close to the previous week’s record for sales, with trade totalling over £120 million for only the second time ever.
Most consumer will have already decided what purchases they will make for Christmas and so sales missed on Saturday are likely to be recovered over the rest of the run up to Christmas Day.
If the bad weather continues after the Christmas festivities it may become a bigger problem for the industry, in particular on Boxing Day that will also see a London tube strike.
South Wales and the south-east of England have seen some of the worst weather but other areas were relatively unaffected and trading was good.
The BRC spokesman added: “Some parts of the country where there was less snowfall trading was strong, with Lakeside and parts of the north of England making up for losses seen earlier in the month.”