Festive cheer and unsettled weather conditions combined to make it a very merry Christmas and new year for convenience store retailers the length and breadth of the UK.

Heather Stothard of Spar Maltby, Rotherham, said that amidst heavy snow and ice, sales in the run up to Christmas had been buoyant. "Local people walked to the store to get their goods and we set up a home delivery service for the elderly," she said.

The store also opened for three hours on December 25 and took the same amount of money as a normal day. "Most sales were distress items such as cigarettes and milk, but we also sold a large quantity of hot tea and coffee to people travelling to visit friends and family."

John Maxwell Jones, who owns Burgess Stores in Goudhurst, Kent, attributed his pleasing sales figures to a new range of premium local cheeses and beers.

"Local products were a big winner as people like to splash out on special things at Christmas," he said. "A hefty fall of snow the week before also helped to lift sales as people tend to panic buy bread and other essential items."

Steve Denham of Cherilyn Stores in West Chiltington, West Sussex, decided to shut for three days for some quality family time. "We made sure that our customers were well aware of the closure and, as a result, we had a very busy Christmas Eve. Bread, milk, alcohol and chocolate were the big sellers and the post office was very busy, too."

Symbol group Costcutter reported strong growth for the four weeks to Christmas, with sales up by 9.7% on 2008.

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