Traders report plenty of festive cheer

TILLS have been jingling over the festive period, with businesses across north Northumberland reporting a steady and good Christmas.

Despite the recession, many traders have seen a good number of people shopping locally over the last few months which has led to healthy December bank balances.

It was the first Christmas for the Amble Development Trust’s Pride of Northumbria Shop and it is pleased with the results.

Julia Aston, trust director, said: “It did very well in the lead-up to Christmas.

“It definitely exceeded our expectations.

“It’s only the first year we have been open so it was difficult to gauge how it has been.

“We support local producers and craftspeople. We were very happy with the way things went.”

In Alnwick, the Wine Boutique at No 14 had a bumper time.

“We thought last year was busy,” said co-owner Michael Bateman who runs the business with his brother Gareth.

“But it was nothing compared to this year.

“It’s been a cracking Christmas and New Year for us.

“We’ve found that a lot of people came to their local wine merchant and realised they don’t have to go to the big names to get the best bottles. The one thing I think Alnwick missed out on was free parking.”

In Rothbury, Lorraine Lawson, from Coccuveda Crafts, said it was good, with quality customers spending.

And in Wooler, David Girdwood, owner of The Good Life Shop, said he had a good Christmas.

“Compared to a year ago trading was lower,” he said.

“But I had seen a downturn in trading and adjusted my sales budget.

“And we got a great surprise in December when we exceeded our sales target.

“We are eternally grateful to our customers and it was a good Christmas.”

Richard Proudlock, managing director of House and Home in Alnwick, said: “We have done OK.

“It has been a pretty lousy year up to the last month, but we finished trading three or four per cent up in December.

“It’s still not great but I think it’s even Stevens with last year (2010).”