WITH the UK’s high streets now well into the post-Christmas sales season, the County Gazette spoke to Minehead businesses to find out whether the feelgood festivities had sent the tills ajingling in store.

Colin Howard, retail manager at West Somerset Railway’s Buffer Stop Shop, said the Winter Steam Festival, with its 1,800 passengers, had been a fantastic success, although the weather had much to answer for.

He said: “The weather in the part between Christmas and New Year has been particularly horrible, but the weekend was really busy with the Winter Steam Festival – we were very successful in our catering and retail.

"The weather is as much to blame as ever for it being quiet.”

Daisy Chain arts and crafts shop owner Margot Wakeling said the sense of a buzz in the town over the seasonal shopping period had left her optimistic for the months ahead.

She said: “It’s been slightly better than last year, which is a good thing, so I’m feeling more optimistic.

"It’s quite hit and miss, but December 30 was a surprise.

"It was busier than you’d expect it to be at this time of the year.”

However Church House Antiques lighting dealer Chris Dietrich said he’d felt the town quieter in atmosphere from last year – putting it down to “people watching their money”.

“We all are at the moment; it’s part of the national trend.

"People have their credit card bills coming in at the end of the month.”