Independent retailers had a slow start to December after the Black Friday bonanza, but most made up for it with a busy Christmas period and full-price sales.
Shunning the high street and online craze for slashing prices, several independents held their nerve on discounting.
Sarah Connelly, owner of lingerie store Odyssey in Edinburgh, said: “I only do two annual sales: summer and winter. The winter one started on the 28 December, which was our first day back after Christmas.”
Thanks to an increase in average spend, sales at the boutique over Christmas were up 3% on last year.
Connelly attributed this to stepping up the business’s social media presence: “I reinvigorated our social channels and we did some partnerships with other local businesses to cross-market each other.”
Jackie Abusin, owner of womenswear store Olivia Grace in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, said footfall over Christmas was the same as last year, but trading was up 10% thanks to targeting emails to her customers.
Meanwhile, Matt Horstead, owner of menswear store Dartagnan in Chichester, rounded off 2016 with a record December, up 2% on last year. However, he added that sales were slow until 13 December following a “Black Friday hangover”.
Horstead said he was uncertain about 2017, as prices at brands including Vivienne Westwood and Stone Island had already increased following the fall in the value of sterling.
“If it wasn’t for Brexit I’d be thinking we’re going to smash it this year. It just depends whether higher prices becomes an issue for our consumer.”
Bruce McLaren owner of plus-size store Dalziel Kingsize Menswear in Woking, Surrey, echoed Horstead’s concerns.
“I’m feeling uncertain because of inflationary pressure, exchange rates moving and price increases. We have a lot of European suppliers from Germany and Scandinavia. The weak pound is going to make things cost more for us.”