The Avenue bucks trend

Christmas shopping proved less than successful for many, but East Ren bucked the trend.
Christmas shopping proved less than successful for many, but East Ren bucked the trend.

IT WOULD seem that Christmas sales in East Renfrewshire bucked the trend for Scotland with retailers claiming increases while the rest of the country floundered.

Official figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium reveal that total sales for December was the worst performance since the survey began in 1999.

However, the word from the Avenue is that business thrived for the yuletide period.

Figures show that the popular shopping centre had a very busy and successful Christmas week with business up by 21 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the Avenue said that the substantial rise can be attributed partly to the fact that, for the first time ever, the Avenue opened on Boxing Day, while Asda opened on New Year’s Day too.

And, in the weeks running up to Christmas, four retailers — About Living, Arran Aromatics, The Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Phones 4U — opened outlets at the Avenue, leaving the centre fully occupied.

Michelle McCabe, centre manager at the Avenue, said: “I’m delighted to welcome these new tenants to the Avenue.

“The fact that these retailers leave the Avenue fully let suggests that, despite what the doom-mongers might profess, there exist pockets of activity where the retail sector remains very buoyant.

“Newton Mearns is one such area and our offering to shoppers of an alternative to sprawling, trolley-dash, shopping culture with a comprehensive range of outlets offering a warm and welcoming shopping experience conveniently located on the outskirts of Glasgow city centre is evidently proving attractive”.

For the rest of the country, though, the harsh realities of the economy continued to bite.

Ian Shearer, the Scottish Retail Consortium director, said: “December wasn’t the saviour of a consistently harsh year for Scottish retailers.

“Sales growth revived to its highest since July but still represented a real terms fall once inflation is allowed for.

“The Christmas boost was well below both what Scottish retailers hoped for and the UK-wide figures.

“It came largely from a last-minute surge in the week before Christmas, helped by discounts and the shopping opportunity presented by the Saturday Christmas Eve”.