Festive footfall: Record numbers of shoppers flock to Manchester city centre and Christmas Markets

By Helen Le Caplain

Record numbers of visitors are flocking to Manchester city centre marking one of the most successful starts to Christmas ever in the city.

With only three weeks to go until the big day Manchester is already celebrating increased festive footfall with the Christmas Markets, as well as city centre shoppers, proving a boost to retailers.

Manchester city centre saw one of its busiest ever weekends last week with retailers enjoying record levels.

More than 1.1 million people visited the city centre over the week Monday  November 26 until Sunday December 2 , with a marked increase in visitors last weekend compared to the same weekends last year – a 5% rise in footfall on the Saturday and a 14% rise on the Sunday.

Manchester Arndale mirrored this trend enjoying their busiest ever day on Saturday December 1, with almost 250,000 people coming through the doors.

Last Saturday saw more than 80,000 people visit the Albert Square Christmas Market alone – 10,000 more people than recorded ever before in a single day – and traders have celebrated at each of the market’s eight sites a bumper weekend of sales.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Manchester is undoubtedly the UK’s Christmas capital.

“Our markets are the original, biggest and the best and the shopping attracts thousands of people from across the country – challenging even London’s high streets as one of the UK’s best shopping destinations.

“Christmas is a city-wide effort which includes the city council working together with partner organisations to come up with a festive package that makes Manchester the top seasonal destination for the benefit of our festive events, high street shops and smaller businesses alike.”

David Allinson, centre director at Manchester Arndale, said: “The real strength of this year’s campaign is the way in which all partners have used the excellent imagery to promote the whole of the city centre’s vibrant festive shopping experience.

“During 2012 Manchester Arndale has already enjoyed year on year growth in visitors and December has got off to a record start.

“On Saturday December 1 we witnessed footfall of nearly 250,000 which is an increase of 7% on last year – the highest figure ever recorded in the centre’s history.

“We are now anticipating a strong run up to Christmas and the centre’s opening hours have been extended to further cope with this demand.”

Picture courtesy of Phillipa Moran, with thanks.

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