Traders in Ripley have enjoyed a busy festive shopping season - but acknowledge the town faces tough challenges ahead.
Sales at the town’s leading department store roughly matched last year’s figures and were given a boost by clement weather, but other businesses recorded a slight drop in sales.
Figures released by Ipsos Retail Performance show that nationally Boxing Day was 1.1 per cent busier than last year, but experts still point to the high street’s twin challenges of online shopping and out of town retail parks.
Rachel Taylor, supervisor of Shoezone on Oxford Street, said: “Sales weren’t too bad - about what we expected. We were down on last year’s figures by about £300. It’s not been that busy. The sales seem to be going OK.”
David Clarke, owner of Clarkes of Ripley department store, said: “Sales are about the same. It depends what day Christmas falls on. It was quite a long week - so we probably took the same amount as we did last year over a longer period.
“We have had a very good start to the sales and we hope it continues. The weather has been quite nice and people seem to have been ready.
“I think nationally M&S - the bell weather for retail - was struggling. They brought their sales forward to before Christmas.
Martyn Dudley, of the Ripley chamber of trade, said: “It is always a busy time in the run up to Christmas - but then it is what happens afterwards. Trade is about what you would expect.”
He believes that a proposed Morrisons supermarket on Nottingham Road will damage town centre trade - which has been affected since the arrival of Sainsbury’s in the 1980s. He thinks a new supermarket would be better located at Butterley or Denby.
He said: “Ripley is no different to anywhere else. It is sad that Morrisons needs to come in. ”