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Sales fever leaves north London cold

PUBLISHED: 09:59 02 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 07 September 2010

SHOPPING mania has gripped the nation with bargain hunters out in force – but north London traders are still waiting for the hordes to arrive. The West End saw frenzied shoppers queuing from dawn to snap up some post-Christmas bargains with several big st

SHOPPING mania has gripped the nation with bargain hunters out in force - but north London traders are still waiting for the hordes to arrive.

The West End saw frenzied shoppers queuing from dawn to snap up some post-Christmas bargains with several big stores seeing record sales.

But in Hampstead and Highgate - traditionally quiet between Christmas and New Year - the sales have not produced quite such a manic reaction.

Paul Parker, from Photo Craft in Heath Street, Hampstead, said: "The sales are not going that well. We do not really have a huge sale with advertisements because the prices are so low anyway and we only opened after Christmas on Monday.

"Hampstead is always very quiet between Christmas and New Year. We didn't open on Saturday because we knew there wouldn't be that many people about.

"Everyone clears off between Christmas and New Year so we will just have to wait and see what happens after that."

Keith Fawkes, owner of Keith Fawkes Books in Flask Walk, Hampstead, added: "We are getting rid of lots of books because we are having a huge 20p sale.

"The sales are OK - nothing exciting and no more than last year. We definitely haven't noticed a horde of shoppers. Hampstead seems pretty empty."

The credit crunch forced many small, independent shops to start their sales before Christmas because business was so bad in the crucial run-up to the holidays.

Jane Wildes, manager of Notsobig in Highgate High Street, said: "The sales have not been bad. We were open Saturday and Sunday and it has been quiet but not too bad.

"It seems to vary a lot from day to day and I have heard that sales are up in the West End but we haven't seen that in Highgate.

"We haven't seen loads of shoppers out and a lot of our sales were brought on early before Christmas. So it hasn't been great but it could have been a lot worse."

Jack Coe, from Cycle Surgery in West End Lane, West Hampstead, said: "The sales are going OK - we only started on Saturday. There hasn't been a rush of shoppers like there has been in Oxford Street. It has been pretty quiet - a bit busier than before Christmas but nothing outstanding."

Meanwhile, trading in Muswell Hill and Crouch End has been scant.

Peter Kay, owner of Tom Foolery jewellery shop in Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, said: "It's been quieter than previous years and we've mainly had people bringing back unwanted gifts or rings that are the wrong size.

"We will be having a sale on our hanging stock at the end of January."

Suzie Margolius, manager of Sally Bourne Interiors in Muswell Hill Broadway, said: "It's very quiet and has been pretty dead in Muswell Hill. I think a lot of people go away in the holidays and also the sales aren't as big as in the large chain stores."

Ellie Sherriff, owner of Sherriff ladies' boutique in Topsfield Parade, Crouch End, said: "It has been very quiet and there's not been much activity. I've had a few customers who have brought unwanted Christmas presents back and that's pretty much been it."

But the sales stampede will not save even the big shops from a grim 2009, says the head of the British Retail Consortium.

Stephen Robertson said declining sales, heavy discounts and rising costs meant retail jobs were under threat.


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