FESTIVE shoppers have been urged to ditch the internet and spend their cash in local shops, writes Bob Burgess.
The plea to abandon online searches for Christmas presents has come from MSP John Lamont.
He says people who have still to do their Christmas shopping can find all they need without leaving the Borders.
Experts reckon that households across the UK will spend a staggering £22billion on gifts, cards, decorations and food over the festive season. And the Conservative MSP says that with online retailers taking more and more of this money, some local stores are struggl ing. He has urged shoppers to support their local stores before going elsewhere.
He stressed: “Here in the Borders, we have one of the best selections of shops in Scotland available to us. There are hundreds of independent retailers in our towns and villages offering more unique and more high quality products than you can find anywhere else. We are extremely lucky to have them on our doorstep.
“The Christmas period represents a huge economic boost to many retailers across the UK, but more and more people are choosing to do their shopping online.
“This has meant that some local stores have started to struggle, and if we don’t support them now, we risk losing them altogether.”
Mr Lamont added: “Thousands of jobs in the Borders are supported by the retail industry, and that’s why I’m encouraging as many Borderers as possible to shop locally this Christmas. Whether it’s buying Christmas cards, turkeys or presents for family and friends, there is a wide selection available on our doorstep.”
And he believes shopping local can provide better value for money.
He commented: “While online shopping does have a role to play, you can often find cheaper and better produce on your local high street. I know that I’ll be shopping locally this Christmas, and I hope that as many people as possible will do the same.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, for the first time, almost £1 in very £10 spent on goods by Britons is spent online. We spent around £539million online each week in September out of sales of £5.61billion. Easy access through smartphones has helped boost online sales.