THERE will be a much-anticipated second coming this Christmas – but it will be of the furry variety, according to upmarket retailer John Lewis.
Depending on your outlook you will either be delighted or dismayed to know that Furbies – the fluffy, bird-like electronic toy – have been flying off the shelves this year.
Meanwhile, staff at the Mannington Retail Park store have been busy preparing for the Christmas period, which sees them do a fifth of their total annual trade in just three weeks.
And, so important is the Christmas rush that it often determines how much workers, called partners, get through the company’s bonus scheme.
Other hot gifts are expected to be tablets, including the iPad, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy and Kindle Fire, as well as toys and gadgets such as remote control helicopters and an old favourite, Lego.
Store manager Dominic Joyce “Last year we had a really good Christmas but the nothing really happened until December.
“It’s too early to tell but we are optimistic we will match it again this year.
“It’s a big wait to see what happens but the signs are positive.
“I think people will spend money with retailers they trust and where they know they will get consistent service.
“It’s certainly going to be a big tablet Christmas and also the Furby is back – sales have gone really well for those online and they haven’t even hit the shelves yet.
“Also Christmas decoration sales are well ahead of last year and that’s because I think it’s all about being at home with the family.
“Buying habits have changed and you have to listen to your customers.
“They want the option of buying online and that’s why we have the click and collect service, whereby people can order before 7pm and it will be ready for collection from 2pm the next day.”
Dominic said despite the rush and the extended opening hours, staff looked forward to Christmas as it was fun and fast-paced.
He said: “It’s all about Christmas. Everybody loves it and we like to get our customers and partners involved in the fun. We put the decorations up and have the snowman.
“The highlight of every year is in January when they announce the bonus. It’s a true partnership in that everyone gets a share of the profits and that is when all the hard work now pays off.”