Shoppers have stampeded Birmingham stores in the run-up to Christmas, beating the gloomy financial predictions made earlier this month.
The Bullring reported the Christmas shopping boom beginning earlier in the month than last year, and year-on-year spending and footfall being up.
Shops benefited from an extra Saturday and Sunday in the last days before the December 25, and fewer stores than predicted were starting their sales earlier than Boxing Day.
One of the factors behind the Birmingham's retail boom was being attributed by city centre bosses to an increased enthusiasm to celebrate Christmas, in the face of "dumbing down" by other quarters.
Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that like for like November sales were up just 0.5 per cent on last year - the slowest rate since March.
Analysts for the Retail Footfall Index had predicted that it could be the worst Christmas for retailers for 25 years.
The number of visitors to the Bullring this week was up eight per cent on the same period last year, while the week before was up 12 per cent.
"We are doing very well compared to last year," said Louise Hamer-Brown marketing controller for the Bullring. "We've had a million visitors per week from the the last week in November. The Christmas shopping rush started earlier this year as well."
Turnover at the Bullring is an estimated four per cent up on last year.
At Solihull's Touchwood Centre, sales are up five per cent on 2005. Two million people passed through it in December.
"We think that for December as a whole we will have had more people through the centre," said general manager Andrew Parkinson.
Although a few shops started their sales earlier, most of them, and the deeper reductions in price, were not being made until after closing on Christmas Eve.
In the main, traders were sticking together until the Boxing Day starting pistol, to avoid a pre-Christmas competition to be begin them first.
In the Bullring a handful of stores had started their sales today, including Karen Millen and Gap, and at Touchwood Currys Digital had joined them, where smaller electrical goods in particular were selling well.
Birmingham city centre high street shops are reporting encouraging footfall and turnover figures, thanks largely to a "phenomenal" turnout at the Frankfurt Market.
It received widespread media coverage and saw coachloads of people coming from Norwich, Durham and Southampton and London.
Stallholders reported an average increase in turnover of 30 per cent this year, with visitor numbers up by 40 per cent.
"It has been nothing less than phenomenal," said city centre manager Jim Kelly. "The Frankfurt Market has a very strong identity and I think there has been a backlash against the bland Winterval of 98 and a support of the Archbishop John Sentamu's comments about celebrating Christmas.
"When Carols in the City took place you couldn't get into Centenary Square. The market has been filled to capacity every evening."
Next year, he said, they were hoping to invite over the Bishop of Frankfurt for the event.