Residents say they’ll be shopping independently this Christmas

Many locals will be heading for independent stores rather than retail giants for gifts, a snap poll found

Shopping locally at Christmas
City of Arcades Day is held to raise awareness for Cardiff’s six historical arcades, which boast a range of independent stores and eateries. Credit: Hannah Wild

Many Cardiff residents will be gift hunting in independent stores rather than retail giants this Christmas, according to a snap poll at an independent shopping event.

City of Arcades Day, an event celebrating Cardiff’s independent shopping scene, took place on Saturday 18 November. The shops, located in the city’s arcades, offered exclusive discounts, games and prizes to encourage consumers to explore Cardiff’s independent shopping scene.

Sobeys Vintage Clothing is typically popular among Cardiff’s student population, however, the event brought in new customers looking for sustainable and one-of-a-kind gifts from their store in the Royal Arcade.

“It brought in a lot of older people, and some families which was really good to see,” Brooke Chandler, a shop assistant at Sobeys, said.

“You’re more likely to find a unique present in the arcades, rather than going to Bershka and buying an impersonal t-shirt for someone,” Emily Krebel, a 21-year-old shopper said. 

Ben Wheeler, 33, also said he’ll be shopping locally this Christmas:  “It’s much nicer to gift something with a personal touch rather than the same chain rubbish.” 

However, many of Cardiff’s independent shops recognise that outside of Christmas, shoppers are still reliant upon both in-store and online retail giants, suggesting that shopping locally is a seasonal trend. 

Julie Crowley, 52, says she prefers shopping online because of the convenience, and that she only visits Cardiff’s arcades when she has time. 

Oliver Banks, a floor assistant at Green & Jenks in Castle Arcade, attributes this partly to the cost-of-living crisis. “A lot of people like to shop independently, but whether they can afford it, that’s something different,” the 32-year-old said. 

Around 44% of UK shoppers cited the cost-of-living crisis as the main reason for having to reduce their spending, according to research published by Tyl at NatWest last month.

Shopping locally at Christmas

Cardiff Arcades Gift Guide:

  1. Sobeys Vintage Clothing, 31 Royal Arcade, Cardiff: This vintage and reworked clothing store ranges from 80s knits to 90s streetwear fashion, offering unique and sustainable gifts
  2. Plant + Pot, 7 Royal Arcade, Cardiff: An independent planthouse selling unique plants, and plantwear products to brighten and liven up home spaces
  3. Green & Jenks, 27 Castle Arcade, Cardiff: Having just opened a flagship store in Castle Arcade, this indie deli has the perfect Christmas gifts of drink hampers, deli foods and Welsh goods