Retailers suffer as snow hits high streets

Retailers will be looking to attract shoppers with discounts and extended opening times in the remaining shopping days before Christmas after losing out on millions as heavy snow hit high streets over the weekend.

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Saturday (18 December) was expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year with only a week to go until Christmas, but icy weather kept shoppers at home and affected supplies.

Shopping centres such as Brent Cross in north London closed early due to the weather and others experienced empty shelves as deliveries could not be made to stores.

In London’s West End, however, stores remained open and while footfall was down on last year, shoppers were spending and many stores reported sales increases compared to last year.

Despite the poor weather, John Lewis says that sales passed £120m in the week to 18 December, a 7% increase on last year and only the second time the department store chain has recorded sales over £120m.

Many stores are bringing their Boxing Day sales forward and offering discounts of up to 70% to attract shoppers in the final shopping days before Christmas.

The British Retail Consortium says many stores will be extending their opening hours to catch last minute shoppers who have also been affected by online retailers unable to guarantee deliver before Christmas.

Transport minister Phillip Hammond is reviewing whether increasing cases of extreme weather justify further investment into infrastructure to help the UK deal with the effects of snow.

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