THE ECONOMIC climate and icy temperatures are not stopping Hounslow and Feltham residents from hitting their local shopping centres in preparation for the festive period.
Sales have been hotting up in the countdown to Christmas despite the chilly weather, with many people making the most of the last few days before VAT rises.
The Centre in Feltham says it had a "fantastic" November despite the extreme weather conditions, with 45 per cent of tenants reporting trade on or above target.
Although centre manager Lorraine Eggleton was unable to provide figures for December trading at this stage, she said: " We’re expecting this weekend to be our busiest yet and our figures indicate Christmas 2010 will be better than last year.
"I’d like to reassure shoppers that our car parks and all the public areas will be gritted".
Managers of Hounslow's Treaty Centre said the last two weekends have been "particularly busy", and have partially put this down to a Father Christmas grotto and Xmas Factor talent competition.
A spokesman for The Treaty Centre said: "We expect this weekend to be even busier – being the last weekend before Christmas – and helped by the promotional activity of our retailers, and of course the fact that canny shoppers are taking advantage of the last few days before VAT increases to 20 per cent".
The manager of the Treaty Centre's Debenhams Store said that they had their busiest day of the Christmas season so far was Saturday December 11. Again they feel that it is going to be even bigger this weekend.
Many shops are taking advantage of the last minute rush by offering drastic price cuts, with some at 40 per cent.
Centre Manager Robin Arbenz said: "We are very pleased by the Christmas trading patterns with many of our retailers reporting very positively, a trend which we anticipate continuing right up until the last moment".