TILLS across Huddersfield have been ringing as sales bargain hunters have been out in force.
Shoppers have packed into shops hoping to grab bargains and beat yesterday’s VAT increase.
Stores in the town reported bumper Christmas and New Year sales boosted by thaws in the cold weather and the tax rise from 17.5% to 20%.
Kingsgate shopping centre manager Jonathan Hardy reported a big increase in footfall.
He said: “We’ve seen some incredible numbers coming through for the sales. In the last couple of weeks before Christmas footfall was between 10 and 20% up on the year before.
“People have been in the mood for shopping this year. Having a full week of trading in the run-up to Christmas has also worked to our advantage and the shops have carried on going strong.
“With the Next sale we had a double bite of the cherry because our centre store was open on Boxing Day and December 27, which brought in huge numbers of people.”
Designer label retailer TK Maxx, which is based in the Kingsgate Centre, said sales had been strong, particularly between New Year’s Day and January 3.
Store manager Julie Leadbeater said: “Sales have been very strong and we’ve been quite busy with people queuing up all the time in the store.
“Sales had been pretty flat to last year’s figures but over the last weekend they have been really strong.”
Mrs Leadbeater added: “The weather did have an affect pre-Christmas but then a lot of people stayed local for their shopping instead of going to places like Meadowhall and White Rose, which worked in our favour.
“The VAT increase has had a big effect on shops because people were out buying before it went up. It won’t have the same impact on us as we don’t sell high ticket items but it has been our peak time”.
Pat Thompson, manager of Peter Jones china and giftware shop on New Street, also reported booming business.
She said: “We’ve been doing very well and are very happy with the response from customers.
“We opened for the sale the day after Boxing Day and have been busy since then.
“Nobody has seemed that concerned about the VAT increase and it didn’t affect us last year.
“It looks like sales this week will be up compared with this time last year because that’s when we had all the snow.”