Sales bonanza as Rotherham shoppers beat VAT increase

CHRISTMAS and the new year period proved a busy time for Rotherham shop owners with many reporting an increase in trade.

Denis Copeland, manager of Parkgate Shopping, called the festive period “phenomenal.” Meanwhile the number of shoppers in the town centre increased by 12 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Mr Copeland was pleased that there was still a lot of interest for shoppers in Rotherham and added: “I’m really happy with how Parkgate has performed recently.

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“We all know that people try to buy a bargain at this time and it’s largely the sales that have done it for us.”

The Parkgate manager added that unlike last year many shoppers have been mindful of the VAT increase and looked to beat the price hike.

“There has definitely been an element of panic buying among people,” he said.

“It’s effectively £200 VAT on a £1,000 product so it will affect shoppers looking for electrical items rather than everyday things.

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“But I know that some of the stores in the complex have looked to absorb the tax increase for a while.”

Tim O’Connell, Rotherham Borough Council’s Business and Retail Investment Manager, said: “Despite extreme weather conditions Rotherham town centre has experienced a 12 per cent increase in foot flow across the town centre in the week running up to Christmas and new year.

“The Works, one of 2010’s newest businesses, noticed a dramatic increase in shoppers’ spending in the run-up to Christmas after the heavy snow had passed.

B&M Bargains also reported that they have beaten their sales figures from last year in the three weeks running up to Christmas.

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“Overall, this is a promising start to the new year and means the 40 or so businesses we had open last year are set to do well here in Rotherham–provided everyone remembers to shop locally.”

Meadowhall also performed well with more than 90,000 people flocking to the shopping centre for the Boxing Day sales.