Weather hits shopping numbers before Christmas

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 December 2010

The Sovereign Shopping Centre reported a 13 per cent drop in visitor numbers

The Sovereign Shopping Centre reported a 13 per cent drop in visitor numbers

Archant

WESTON’S shops took a hit as icy and treacherous conditions prevented customers from getting into the town on what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

The Sovereign Shopping Centre, Weston’s biggest shopping complex saw 13 per cent less visitors over the last week in comparison with the previous year, while town business figures have commented on the lack of shoppers.

As the last weekend before Christmas Day, shop owners and business figures were hoping for large crowds to boost their sales.

But heavy snowfall on Friday (Dec 17) left many roads impassable across North Somerset and bus services cancelled, meaning many were unable to reach the shops.

Nick Cooke, manager of the Sovereign Shopping Centre, said: “There was quite a noticeable dip in the amount of people who visited the shops in the centre.

“There was quite a noticeable difference in comparison to various years; there was a dip of 13 per cent dip in terms of the amount of people coming through our doors.

“The weather conditions made it very hard for lots of people to make it into Weston as they simply couldn’t use the roads.

“It’s having a major influence on the centre as obviously it’s affecting staff being able to get to and from the centre. Luckily most of our staff have been able to make it in.

“We’re hoping that maybe we can boost our sales at the end of the week, just before Christmas, but otherwise it’ll have to be after Christmas in the sales.

Chris Knight, president of the Weston Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “There has definitely been a lighter footfall in shops because of the weather, there have been less bodies on the ground.

“It’s also affected supply as well as shoppers, as it has been very difficult to take deliveries as the lorries can’t make it on the roads.

“Most of the people who were made it to the shops on the weekend were those who came with a pre-meditated plan to buy something.”

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