Positive reports as shoppers continue to buy locally

Local businesses tills were ringing to the sounds of bountiful commerce in the run-up to Christmas, with bumper sales made by many stores.

Shops were kept busy right up to Christmas with even the unpleasant Christmas Eve gales brought to the isles by Storm Barbara failing to deter punters from a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping.

According to Janet Davidge, proprietor of Westside Pine, Christmas Eve this year was the “busiest” the shop had ever had. That was perhaps because Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year, a convenient day for purchasing last minutes gifts, food and alcohol.

Mrs Davidge said that her furniture and gift shop had been teeming with Christmas shoppers for the last few weeks with Yankee Candles and Emma Bridgewater pottery proving to be particularly popular gifts this year.

She said she was “very chuffed” with the amount of trade the store had in the run up to the festive period, with Christmas decorations also selling very well.

At The Shetland Times Bookshop on Commercial Street staff were “absolutely run off [their] feet” according to supervisor Kiah Garvey.

Books were selling well, she said, with recently released local interest books by Shetland authors performing admirably against national and international titles.

Into the Southern Ocean by Andrew Halcrow (which proved so popular that another run was printed before Christmas), In Search of Willafjord by Maurice Henderson and Bobby the Birdman edited by Jonathan Wills and Mike McDonnell were particularly successful.

Another trend spotted by Miss Garvey was the popularity of books on Hygge (a Danish word which defies accurate translation but roughly refers to a sense of cosy well-being), which seemed to be a common gift this year.

This trend exploded on a national scale earlier this year resulting in numerous identikit publications flooding the market. The trend seems to have reached Shetland just in time for Christmas shoppers to purchase books on the topic as stocking-fillers.

Ann Johnson from Scoop Wholefoods

Fine foods shop Scoop also experienced a busy Christmas period with the usual hampers selling well. Italian panettones (a type of light celebration cake made with raisins) were another successful seller, having become increasingly popular in Britain in recent years.

Unlike the shops which reported hectic days on Christmas Eve, Scoop owner Ann Johnson found that it was the Thursday before Christmas which was busiest for the Toll Clock Shopping Centre based store. This was perhaps because the adverse weather forecast had resulted in the customary food related panic buying.

Miss Johnson added that she was happy with the number of sales made in the run up to Christmas and that she was pleased to see “that people are still shopping locally”.

At Harry’s Department Store toys and games were flying off the shelves, with the street mainstay reporting a year as busy as ever. The fine weather prior to Storm Barbara encouraged shoppers to visit the street, according to Stewart Jamieson, with the last Thursday before Christmas being particularly busy.

Humorous party games by Hasbro such as Speak Out and Pie Face sold well while best-sellers among the toys included Paw Patrol, Hatchimals and the ever-popular Lego sets.


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