Leeds stores joy over New Year sales surge

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Leeds’s trailblazing retailers have seen tens of thousands more shoppers make the most of post-Christmas sales this year.

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on Leeds and its out-of-town centres to continue the city’s retail success story.

The Trinity Leeds shopping centre, which celebrated its first Christmas this year, recorded around 600 people queueing outside its Next store at 5.30am on Boxing Day alone – contributing to the 2m shoppers the venue welcomed in December.

Major players outside of the development such as Harvey Nichols and the Victoria Quarter, in Briggate, witnessed a huge growth in visitor numbers, as did the nearby White Rose Shopping Centre, in Churwell.

John Bade, centre manager for the Victoria Quarter, said: “We are seeing a real appetite already in 2014. Early sales figures are very promising and since the New Year we have already since an increase in footfall of 14 per cent from 2013. Cosmetics in particular have seen a real boost in sales over the festive season and into the New Year.”

Meanwhile Leeds stalwart Harvey Nichols reported an extra 2,500 customers in the first two hours of its post-Christmas sale, which has seen sales of menswear and accessories rocket.

Store manager Sue Stones said: “Our sale started extremely positively and we have seen a double digit growth in sales when compared with last year.”

The positive news comes after British Retail Consortium figures showed Leeds as bucking the national trend of decreases in high street footfall late last year, with November 30 marking the busiest day in Leeds city centre since December 2009.

Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I think there is a real buzz about the city now – our retail offer is one of the best in the country.

“Despite austerity and fierce competition, people are seeing Leeds as somewhere special.”

Coun Wakefield described the March opening of £300m Trinity as a “massive catalyst” to boosting other Leeds centres.

He added: “When you think we have got work on John Lewis starting this year in February it is a very exciting time in the city centre, particularly with the retail offer, the arena and of course the Grand Départ.”

Outside the city centre the White Rose Shopping Centre started 2014 in style by welcoming almost 275,000 visitors in the first week of January – a 12 per cent increase on last year.

Centre director James Bailey, said: “As well as having an appetite for a bargain in the January sales, many shoppers have been stopping for something to eat and drink in our restaurants.”

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As the January sales begin to slow, there are still endless bargains to be had.

Harvey Nichols has seen Gucci and Balenciaga handbags sell well in its sales which run until January 26.

It is open on Monday to Wednesday, from 10am to 6pm; on Thursday, from 10am to 8pm; on Friday; from 10am to 7pm; on Saturday, from 9am to 7pm and on Sunday from 10.30am to 5pm.

Shopping centre sales will end on a shop by shop basis.

Trinity Leeds is open on Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 8pm, and on Sunday, from 11am to 5pm.

Victoria Quarter opens on Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm – some stores open late on Thursday – and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

The White Rose opens on Monday to Wednesday and Friday, from 10am to 8pm; on Thursday, from 10am to 9pm; on Saturday, from 9am to 7pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

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