HUDDERSFIELD retailers have bucked a trend to boost sales over Christmas.

National figures showed high street stores suffered their worst Christmas for more than 20 years as sales fell 1% in December.

But many traders in Huddersfield town centre were pleased with their performance over the festive season, it was said.

David Wyles, town centre manager, said the positive picture was painted at a meeting of Huddersfield Town Centre Association.

The Kingsgate and Piazza shopping centres both reported good trading for their tenants, he said.

Stallholders at Queensgate Market were also busy, while most of the town's major chain stores said sales had been good - with some reporting sales up 10% to 20%.

Government figures showed that nationally shoppers were less lavish with the cash over Christmas.

The Office for National Statistics said total sales in the last three months of 2004 grew by just 0.3%, the lowest quarterly growth rate for six years.

Clothing retailers and general stores were the worst-hit, with online retailers faring best.

Poor sales have been reported by major names including Poundstretcher owner Brown and Jackson, Marks and Spencer, Argos owner GUS, Bon Marché parent Peacocks and bookshop chain Ottakar's.

Beatties hailed strong sales at its Kingsgate store - but said sales were subdued at other branches.

Kingsgate centre manager Jonathan Hardy said: "We have bucked the trend.

"I think we have benefited from the general malaise, which seems to have hit out-of-town shopping centres particularly.

"People did not want to get involved in the hassle of driving and getting struck in traffic."

Mr Wyles said: "People did their Christmas shopping closer to home this time - and found they could get what they wanted in Huddersfield."