LOCAL traders have reported that Teries are spending money on the High Street, but there has been a trend towards more staggered Christmas shopping sprees.
As the town centre enters its final weekend for festive spending, several of the town’s shopkeepers have reported a good level of support and busy tills – although this year the Christmas rush has been less noticeable.
Local jeweller Lynsey Parker told the Hawick News: “People began their shopping a lot faster last year, so it’s been a slow start, but I think the mild weather made people think they had plenty time. It has picked up now, though, and you always make it up in the last two weeks. Saturday was really busy and Monday was heaving.” And highlighting what is attracting the most custom, she said: “Lovelinks and silver is just flying out the door.”
It has been a similar story at the Eden men’s and women’s clothing stores, where owner Sandi Spence says despite Teries’ slightly different spending habits this year, she is enjoying good trade. “We have been busy but we always are with Christmas dresses and nights out, so we’re lucky,” she said. “This year sales of things like gloves and wellies aren’t as high, but we’ve done fine, and the men’s shop always does really well for Christmas.”
And highlighting how people have been spreading the cost of Christmas, she added: “I have noticed that people started their Christmas shopping earlier; it feels as though I’ve been gift wrapping for longer than usual.”
The tills have also been ringing at Irving House, near The Horse, where owner Debbie Irvine says her third Christmas trading is proving the best yet.
She told the Hawick News: “Every Christmas gets better for me, as I try and improve the shop all the time. I would like it to be a bit more obviously, but I am really happy that sales are up.”
Mrs Irvine has also noticed that customers began their shopping earlier this year. “At weekends people definitely trek away to the cities, but my good customers are very loyal and they come back,” she said. But stressing the importance of townsfolk shopping locally, she added: “This is the big two weeks and as a small town we need people to use us if they want to keep us.”
This sentiment is shared by nearby retailer Lesley Smith, who opened The Honey Pot earlier this year. “As this is my first Christmas I have no figures to make a comparison, but things are going well,” she said. “Generally, the feedback from customers is that they are trying to shop local as much as possible.”
She added: “Mary Portas ‘Queen of Shops’ told paraliment this week that the public want smaller shops and more farmers’ markets; this is what Hawick is becoming. Small retailers are fighting back, so shopping local has never been so important.”