Thoughts turn to Christmas for Cheltenham shops
MENTION of the festive season in September might induce groans from many, but for shops throughout Cheltenham the focus has very much turned towards Christmas.
Traders are lining up to move into empty units at the Beechwood Arcade to open seasonal shops while other outlets are increasing their stocks and taking on more staff.
Lindsay Porter, manager of town centre toy shop The Entertainer, said Christmas temps had already started.
She said: "We are getting more and more stock already and our company has put out a statement saying what they think will be the biggest sellers this year.
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"They are bringing out the Furby toy again and we will be getting that stock in over the next few weeks.
"Christmas soon comes around and people have come in saying they are starting their Christmas shopping and getting bits and pieces for stockings."
Cheltenham Kitchener, in Queen's Circus, is also gearing up for Christmas trade this month.
Owner Susan Crownshaw said: "It's the time you start buying your stock. Christmas is obviously a good time for retailers, hopefully. You start looking at it in September and try to get it all in by the end of November.
"For us, the 10 days before Christmas are great as people start thinking 'how am I going to put this turkey into a tin' and that sort of thing. We also sell a lot of Christmas gifts.
"We find with the literature festival that a lot of people come for a holiday and to see events and they start shopping and thinking of Christmas and stocking fillers."
Temporary traders are poised to move into the Beechwood shopping centre in the coming weeks.
Cards for Good Causes was one of the first to sign up to a temporary let and will open next month.
Gifted returns for a third year and Calendar Club will also be present again, said centre manager Owen Acland.
He said: "We do normally see extra traders come in over Christmas. We have had a few empty units this year but we are hoping to be full on the ground floor for the Christmas period.
"Last Christmas was really good and we really enjoyed the extra shops being open. There was a real buzz in the centre and we are looking forward to the same thing happening again this year. Seasonal traders have always performed well here, putting it down to early occupation of the units.
"This year Economummy, for mums in business, also plans to set up stalls every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during December.
"Furniture store Cargo has opened an additional unit in Beechwood for the second year running to accommodate its sale items including sofas and coffee tables."
Italian shirt retailer 7Camicie also opens this month opposite Animal as a permanent fixture.