Seaford: Traders remain upbeat, but say it’s been tough

C Walbrin and Sons Butchers, Seaford
C Walbrin and Sons Butchers, Seaford
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AS THE new year gets under way, traders in Seaford are remaining positive with some experiencing fantastic sales during the festive season.

Although some businesses were affected by the weather, a number said they did well while others said they were not expecting sales to go through the roof because of the knock-on effect of the recession.

Chris Barrance, owner of Real Deli, said, “We did really well it was a good Christmas. We had a record year for selling hampers.

“It’s obviously a little quiet now it’s what we expect but it’s been picking up as the weather is getting better.”

Daeron McGee is director of Toytown with his wife Ginette, which expanded in October last year. He also owns Sussex Eyecare.

He said, “Toytown had a phenomenal Christmas period, showing a 60 per cent increase on turnover compared to the same period last year.

“Being able to advertise as ‘the largest independent toyshop in Sussex’ resulted in a lot of interest across the county, and we had a lot of new visitors travelling some distances to see us.

“We had a lot of favourable comments about our stock - people were interested in quality, and we had a lot of people commenting that it was nice to find a ‘proper’ toyshop, as opposed to being forced to shop by mail order or in the supermarkets.

“Sussex Eyecare was as quiet as it usually is at Christmas time - this year we did note that lots more people were deferring big ticket purchases until after Christmas, instead of treating themselves.

“Overall though, a record year for the opticians too.”

Sharon Elliott, manager of gift shop Natures Nectar, said, “It was down again on last year, however, because we tightened our belts because of the recession we didn’t aim to do as much as we did.

“I’m hoping this year we’re going to be back on our feet.

“I think we realised what was happening and tried to work more for the middle of the road rather than the more expensive.”

Chris Walbrin, owner of C Walbrin & Son butchers, added, “It was good and we sold plenty of everything.”

While Paul Day, owner of Paul’s Plaice, said, “Christmas was good for us but it’s been very quiet since.

“The trouble is we rely on the weather and because of that we haven’t had a lot of fish coming in.”

The turn of 2012 has seen a number of big chains closing down or going into administration across the county.

But traders in Seaford, which has a mix of independent stores, along with several bigger names, are hoping business will pick up as the new year progresses.

Karen James, administrator at Age Concern, Seaford, added, “We’re a very small group down here, we’re completely self-funded.

“The two weeks before Christmas we dipped but the weeks previous to that were brilliant.

“We had a good run and we opened on January 4 so it’s been a bit slow but it will gradually pick up we hope. It’s usually the same pattern each year.

“We’ve had donations in the last few days, so that’s a good sign for us, we rely on donations completely.”

Jill Bennison, from fashion boutique Sedici, said, “We didn’t do too bad, some days we would be really busy and other days you wouldn’t see anyone.

“In this trade I feel you’re really governed by the weather.

“We probably didn’t do as well as last year but we didn’t expect it to be but I can’t say it’s been awful.

“Once we started a sale it generated a lot of business.”

Daeron McGee added, “Overall we are very happy with the trading period, and hope that the trend of attracting shoppers into the town will continue, and Seaford will continue to thrive and expand.”

Lindsey Shaw, co-owner of Diella’s Italian restaurant, said, “It’s been a brilliant Christmas but it has slumped now.

“I think the high winds have contributed to be fair and that’s something you can’t predict year on year.

“The only way is up.”