With just four shopping days left until Christmas, Manchester’s shoppers have been setting records across the city.
Manchester Arndale set a new Sunday trading best with 155,063 people passing through its doors on Sunday, December 16, to give businesses a festive boost.
And the Christmas Markets enjoyed their busiest period ever, with 85,000 people passing through the Albert Square site in a single day.
Coincillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “What an incredible Christmas this has been, we’ve broken all records.
“The Christmas markets from the very first weekend surpassed themselves in every way.”
The Arndale centre enjoyed a record opening Saturday in December, with 250,000 passing through its door.
And these numbers have continued throughout the month, with last Sunday’s figure of 155,063, up 3.5% on last year.
David Allinson, centre director Manchester Arndale, said: “We are now preparing for the final weekend in December with extended opening hours to give shoppers more opportunities to purchase their Christmas presents.”
The centre will open at 9am on Boxing Day to welcome bargain hunters in for the sales, with Next opening its doors extra-early at 6am.
Exchange Square’s Christmas market will continue trading until December 30, allowing Mancunians to make the most of the festive season before 2013 sneaks up on us.
But with all sites other closing at 6pm on December 23, visitors do not have long left to see the Markets in their full splendour.
“There’s only days left until the markets close for another year, but we hope everyone has enjoyed the festive period in Manchester just as much as we have,” added Cllr Karney.
“We are already planning and looking forward to next year – extra special as it is Manchester Christmas Market’s 15th anniversary so expect something magical.”
An estimated 1.8 million people have passed through Albert Square this Christmas, taking with them 75,000 of the coveted Market mugs.
But some traders are reporting they still have some in circulation, so get on down to the Markets quick to snap up one of the collectables.
Elsewhere in Greater Manchester, Oldham Council have confirmed that early signs point to increased footfall in the town centre.
The council implemented a scheme to allow three hours of free parking on a Saturday to encourage shoppers into the centre, and it appears to have worked.
Footfall is up on last December, though there may be other factors at play other than just the free parking.
A council spokesman said: “Free parking, the range of free festive events, offers and attractions, the opening of a new BHS store in late November.
“And, the fact that the weather has been better this year have all contributed to an increase in shoppers this December.”