A FASHION for more “thoughtful” and personalised gifts helped drive bumper Christmas trade at Dorset-based retailer Hobbycraft.

The arts and crafts chain said like-for-like sales were up 9.5 per cent for the six weeks ending on Christmas Eve.

Store sales were up 7.1 per cent, while online rose by 28 per cent.

Christchurch-headquartered Hobbycraft says there was a growing trend for personalisation of gifts at Christmas, with celebrities among those showing off their gifts and decorations.

Kris Jenner posted pictures of a gingerbread house decorated with the Kardashian-Jenner names, Kate Hudson showed off her and her husband’s personalised pyjamas, and Tamra Eccleston made an edible Christmas tree.

Katherine Paterson, customer director at Hobbycraft, said: “A personalised present means so much more and Christmas is clearly the perfect time of year to create something special for loved ones.

“Social media channels and influencers are helping to drive this trend and our results this Christmas show that crafting a thoughtful gift or decoration is a more enriching experience in these challenging times.”

Hobbycraft hosted 12 weeks of Christmas demonstrations across its 94 stores, with staff providing expert help and advice.

More than 21,000 people attended workshops on projects ranging from fillable baubles to personalised advent calendars.

The chain said this highlighted the power of the crafting community, with sales of ‘Christmas Eve boxes’ rising 119 per cent in the week they were demonstrated.

There was a similar trend online, with Hobbycraft’s blog and Christmas “look book” contributing to a 10 per cent year-on-year rise in customers looking for ideas.

The most popular festive blog posts included How to Crochet a Mini Stocking Advent, 14 Christmas Eve Box Ideas and 15 Crafty Christmas Hamper ideas.

On the social media site Instagram, the hashtag #personalisedgifts was used more than 700,000 times.

Hobbycraft, which was originally part of the Haskins group, was bought by private equity firm Bridgepoint in 2010. Based at Bournemouth Airport’s Aviation park, it reported a six per cent rise in sales last year to £168.5million – its eighth consecutive year of growth – as earnings rose by more than 16 per cent to £8.7m.