LIVERPOOL’S retailers are bucking the gloomy national trend with storming sales and footfall so far this Christmas.
Despite a slow start in November footfall and sales figures have shot up compared with last year and compared to the national and regional average.
There have been five million foot flows – the number of times people are recorded walking through different parts of the city – so far this month.
At Liverpool ONE, Saturday December 1 was their busiest day on record, even bigger than previous Boxing Days.
There were 172,000 people through the shopping complex, a 13% rise on the equivalent Saturday in 2011.
Estates Director Chris Bliss said he expects its record for one-day footfall to be broken again before the year is out.
He said: “We’ve had an exceptionally strong lead up to Christmas throughout November and December and this weekend shows no sign of slowing.
“Early figures indicate that the upcoming pre-Christmas weekend will smash previous records for footfall and we’re anticipating figures will surpass three million.”
While Liverpool ONE expects to see footfall up one per cent for 2012, the national average is down 3% and the regional figure for the North West is down 7%.
Sales for Liverpool ONE are also up 4% on last year.
Ian Ward, the centre director of St Johns who was recently made Chairman of Liverpool City Central Business Improvement District (BID), added: “We are certainly bucking national trends and showing extremely strong performance.
“All year we have been able to outperform the national and particularly the regional average, and we’re seeing that this Christmas in abundance.”
November did see a slow start to the Christmas period. Sales in the City Central BID area were down 1.5% on the same month last year.
But figures for December so far suggest business has significantly picked up.
Last year 1.2 million people came through St Johns shopping centre in December, with 346,000 in the week before Christmas itself. But Mr Ward said he expected even better footfall this year.
St Johns is open until 8pm every night to capitalise on the boost in trade.
During 2012 so far footfall has been up 2.2%, with 400,000 more visitors expected to come through the door than in 2011. Cavern Walks Boutique shopping centre has also reported good sales so far over the festive period.
Stan Yarker, Centre Manager, said: “Christmas sales at Cavern Walks have once again affirmed the shopping centre’s position as a prime shopping destination for Liverpool city centre”.
Jennina O’Neill, Metquarter Centre Manager, added: “Customers are shopping differently this year and we are seeing most purchases around pay days.
“It is encouraging that the Metquarter retailers Jo Malone, Tommy Hilfiger, Jack Wills and Hugo Boss are already showing strong performances.”
Retail experts expect a return to traditional Boxing Day sales rather than heavy discounting before Christmas.