Sales soar at Highcross, in Leicester, as festive rush starts
A shopping centre is gearing up for strong Christmas trading after announcing sales are up six per cent this year.
Highcross, in Leicester, said like-for-like sales from January to the end of October were up on the same period last year.
Managers said areas performing well in the run-up to Christmas were men's fashion, footwear and jewellery, as well as restaurants and cafes.
John Lewis, which has a store in Highcross, announced £109.6 million of sales nationwide in the week to Saturday – a record figure for November – and up 11 per cent on the same time last year.
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Cliff Vanstone, managing director of the Leicester store, said sales were 16.5 per cent higher on Saturday and Sunday than in the same weekend last year, suggesting consumer confidence could be returning.
A spokeswoman for Highcross said sales had been helped in the past few weeks by the opening of new stores, including a Fuel juice bar and children's retailer A-Maze-Ing.
Aroma Candles, Calendar Club, Image Surgeons and Inside Out Art have also recently opened, alongside pop-up retailer The Perfect Christmas.
The centre's restaurants and food outlets, which include Zizzi, Carluccio's and Mem Saab, have been added to this year by PizzaExpress, Ed's Diner, Aunty Anne's Pretzels and Patisserie Valerie.
Highcross general manager Jo Tallack said: "To go into the festive season in a strong position and see sales figures such as these is extremely encouraging.
"For Highcross, the festive season really has started early this year and we're confident it will be another successful Christmas at the centre.
"It's encouraging to be able to welcome brands to the city during this key trading period and build on the credibility Leicester has as a regional shopping destination.
"We're looking forward to seeing how these new retailers grow in the coming months.
"We are also looking at a number of strategic leasing opportunities for the new year and hope to make an announcement on several brands coming into Leicester after Christmas."
John Lewis said it had seen strong sales of sofa beds, festive furnishings, Christmas trees and lighting, as well as china, glass and candles this month.
Tablet computers, radios, cameras and coffee machines also performed well.
Mr Vanstone said: "Sales for John Lewis last week were very encouraging and the same can be said for our shop here in Leicester.
"We were pleased to be up 16.5 per cent on last year and remain cautiously optimistic for the coming weeks.
"Our Christmas assortments this year have really excelled so far, with tablets especially proving very popular as gifts, as well as Barbour jackets for the cold weather.
"Our growth in online sales continues to do well for us, especially as customers make the most of click and collect or delivery."
Bianca Wright manager the TM Lewin clothes shop, which specialises in business shirts, said: "It's hard work but we go out of our way to deliver amazing customer service and great products.
"Our sales are up on last year, so we are mirroring what the shopping centre is saying."
Highcross begins its late-night trading hours on Saturday and has already opened its Christmas Grotto and launched its Give a Child a Gift toy appeal.