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High street stores record Christmas shopping boost

RETAILERS and department stores have reported their best sales figures of the year as festive shoppers rushed to the high street for some last-minute gifts.

With red-ticket price reductions in many stores, bargain hunters have waited until the final weekend before Christmas to finish their present buying.

Shoppers queued outside Braehead before it opened on Saturday and yesterday and were still there at midnight when it closed, said general manager Gary Turnbull.

"People are normally out with their friends in pubs and clubs we were very busy up to 10.30pm and then there were the really keen shoppers who were buying Christmas presents right up to when we closed at midnight.

It has been a record-breaking week at John Lewis, with sales 4% up on the previous year, according to Ken Miller, operations manager of the Glasgow store.

He said there had been a late surge in shoppers over the weekend.

"We've been exceptionally busy, we were well up on Saturday and are on course for another good day," he said yesterday. "The weather doesn't seem to have put people off."

The biggest sellers are iPads, with John Lewis selling one every 10 seconds across the UK.

Specifically in Glasgow, popular purchases have been on jewellery and haircare products such as straighteners and hairdryers.

This weekend Silverburn reported a 20% year-on-year rise in footfall.

Meanwhile, sales at Marks & Spencer leave food for thought. This year it expects to sell six million packs of party food over the festive season and 1.2 million individual Christmas puddings.

The high street store sells one in four turkeys bought in the UK over the Christmas period.

It is a change of pace on the nation's high streets after figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium revealed a 0.8% drop in like-on-like retail sales in November. Last month, Scotland saw the lowest growth in pre-Christmas shopping sales in eight years.

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