ONLINE sales have helped boost Christmas takings for one independent trader in Bury St Edmunds.

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But others have reported how trade over the festive period this year has been down on previous years.

Rene van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers, a shop dedicated to beer in St John’s Street, said he had seen a “huge increase” in online sales in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Nationally, retailers have been reporting huge increases in online sales this year.

Mr van den Oort, who opened Beautiful Beers in August 2011, said before the Christmas period the shop did on average about 12 to 15 online orders a week, but it had seen that amount every day in the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

“And considering the competition is much higher online than geographically, if you like, that’s quite a good result.”

Mr van den Oort, who believes the online success is down to more people knowing about the shop’s website, said the furthest place he had sent beer to was Belfast, but he had sent some glasses to Toronto, Canada.

Dave Cobden, who has run Dance and Party Crazy, also in St John’s Street, for 23 years, said the Christmas period had not been “too bad,” but takings were probably down a little bit on last year.

He said the store has been affected by competition from online, but the high street was “there in an emergency” when people were letdown by online.

Mr Cobden said he would look to sell a little bit online, but added “I don’t really want an online business”.

Nick Duncan, who has owned Soundsplus music shop in Risbygate Street for 10 years, said he believed this Christmas had been marginally worse for the store than last year, but added their festive trade rolled on until January as often people were spending money they had been given as gifts.

“This is a peculiar type of shop,” he said. “Music shops are more like car dealers than anything else on the High Street.”

A new website for the store is in the pipeline which will allow customers to purchase a wider range of stock online.

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