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Festive Brummies determined to buy trees despite economic downturn.

Festive UK families may be cutting down on Christmas tree traditions, but in Birmingham householders are refusing to let the economic downturn take the sparkle out of Christmas.

Sales of Christmas trees are performing strongly, despite a nationwide survey revealing people plan to scale down seasonal decorations.

Research showed a third of people in the UK intend to reduce the size of their tree, while eight per cent are not bothering with decorations.

The survey, by car company Chevrolet, showed families will spend pounds 56.88 on decorations compared with pounds 77.45 last year.

Yet tree sellers have seen no sign of a drop in demand. GrahamGilbert, owner of Woods Farm in Shirley, has one million trees over 500 acres, and says business is booming.

"For pounds 25 you can get a very nice tree, so it's definitely not the most expensive item on the shopping list. Nationwide, sales are up from five million last year to over seven million. You can't beat a real Christmas tree," he said. Demand is still strong: last week a 40-foot Nordmann Fir sold for pounds 1,000. A more modest 6ft Norway spruce sells for pounds 20.

Mr Gilbert said prices of trees had risen this year due to a growing demand from Eastern Europe.

But sales of trees are still strong at garden centres, despiteaprice increase.

At Notcutts in Solihull, a six-foot tree costs between pounds 35 and pounds 55, but the price hike has not dissuaded customers.

"Prices have risen this year due to increased transport and growing costs," said manager Julian Ranson. "We were concerned about how this would affect sales, but the trees are doing very well."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 10, 2008
Words:279
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