Shop­ping cen­tres re­port en­cour­ag­ing sales fig­ures

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

ASH­FORD’S shop­ping cen­tres are looking to 2010 with hope af­ter healthy post-Christ­mas trade.

County Square Shop­ping Cen­tre re­ported leaps in foot­fall from Box­ing Day on­wards, while the Park Mall Shop­ping Cen­tre was en­cour­aged by sales af­ter its first Box­ing Day open­ing.

Traders be­lieve at least some of the brisk busi­ness is due to shop­pers seek­ing post-Christ­mas bar­gains dur­ing the re­ces­sion.

Fran Burt, com­mer­cial man­ager for County Square, said “It has been ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic.

“Foot­fall on Box­ing Day was just over 15,000, 25 per cent up on last year, and on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 27, it was 12,500, 30 per cent up on the pre­vi­ous Sun­day af­ter Christ­mas.

“I think peo­ple don’t know what is go­ing to hap­pen in the next year so they want to grab bar­gains while they can.”

Ex­act trade fig­ures from Park Mall were not avail­able at the time we went to press, but mar­ket­ing man­ager Natalie Price said: “We were so en­cour­aged that we will open again on Box­ing Day next year.”

Ash­ford De­signer Out­let was this week still cal­cu­lat­ing its post-Christ­mas sales fig­ures.

But it re­ported a 5.8 per cent year-on-year rise in vis­i­tor num­bers and an eight per cent in­crease in sales in the four weeks lead­ing up to Christ­mas.

Cen­tre man­ager David Mad­di­son said: “The eco­nomic cli­mate has meant that shop­pers are looking to make their money go fur­ther this Christ­mas.

“Shop­pers are in­creas­ingly choos­ing the out­let be­cause they can get the high street and de­signer brands without hav­ing to pay the full price.”

County Square also did well, with foot­fall up 10 per cent from De­cem­ber 18 to Christ­mas Eve com­pared with the same pe­riod last year.

Mrs Burt said: “Stores re­ported to me phe­nom­e­nal sales in the week up to Christ­mas, some say­ing the best in five years, oth­ers the best known.

“Again dur­ing this pe­riod foot­fall was up 10 per cent on last year.”

Park Mall re­ported a slight de­crease in foot­fall to 71,000 from De­cem­ber 7 to 15, com­pared with 72,000 in the same pe­riod last year. But it had gone up by four per cent week on week.

Ash­ford shop­pers rush for the bar­gains

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