A trading drop of two percent this Christmas has left Workington traders both apprehensive and optimistic.

A total of 2.8 million customers visited Allerdale's main shopping centre from December 13 to 19, although visitor numbers were down by four per cent.

The final figures for the days leading up to Christmas are still being collated.

However, the figures probably signified the trend to shop early this Christmas after concerns about empty shelves and no stock.

New town centre manager, Colin Bollands, said: "I have only been in this job for eight weeks, so am still getting to grips with it.

"I have spoken to many of the traders, however, and there is only one reporting a significant drop in sales."

HMV opened its doors on Sunday while other shops, including Next, began their Boxing Day sales on Monday.

Both reported being busy on their sales days and in the period before Christmas.Some independent shops, and some of the larger chains, found that Christmas shopping started earlier this year.

Billy Bowman's Music Shop in Cockermouth was one of the businesses that experienced an earlier-than-usual shopping spree.

Manager Janet Osborne said with a lack of lorry drivers and warnings of empty shelves, many had started their shopping a lot earlier than usual.

"As it turned out, we were able to supply our customers with what they needed without any trouble. Our Christmas trading was better than we might have expected under the circumstances."

Bowman's, like many smaller shops, opened their doors on Tuesday for the first time since Christmas.

"We don't have Boxing Day sales because we match all our prices to the internet to remain competitive throughout the year."

JWW Allisons, a Cockermouth pharmacy has been flat out with Covid vaccinations and boosters.

In Maryport From the Heart, a card and gift shop, which also opened on Tuesday for the first time since Christmas, reported "very busy" sales prior to Christmas.

Nobody was in a position to predict the coming year with any certainty but Janet Osborn summed it up: "We are still here, so that is a good sign!"