SNOWFALLS before and after Christmas did little to harm holiday trade, say independent traders in Malvern.

And community support is essential for small retailers to survive today, they say.

Nigel Morris, co-owner of gift and furniture shops Rhubarb and Rhubarb Home, both in Church Street, said the pre-Christmas trade had been "really good".

He said: "It's been a really good year, right up until Christmas Eve, when even though it was Sunday, we had people coming in. Both businesses were really busy.

"On the Sunday when we had the big snowfall, we came in and opened up, even though we had to walk part of the way in, and we did pretty well. There were a lot of people, local people, walking around in the snow, and they were coming in.

"We also had people staying in the hotels who had to stay an extra night because of the snow, and they were coming in as well.

"Bad weather like that isn't generally good for business, but we got it back mostly."

Sean Austin of Austin and Co, the stationery shop on Belle Vue Terrace, said: "It's a bit hard for me to compare like for like to previous years, because I've been having a relocation sale and the shop is practically empty now, but up till the week before Christmas, trade was really good.

"The fact that trade has been good enough for me to move to new premises, taking up a new lease for a new shop, says a lot about Malvern as a place to trade. I'm finishing on Belle Vue Terrace on Friday and Saturday and moving to Church Street."

Lake Knowles, of Just So in Barnards Green, said: "Bad weather does hit independent traders, just as it does national traders, but we have the support of local communities, we put on events and so on, and they stay loyal to us.

"We've just learned that we made so much from our Christmas extravaganza and the sales of our local history book, that were are able to afford two community defibrillators for the Green, instead of one, which was our original target.

"The message is that if traders support the local community, then the community will support the traders."