Weston-super-Mare independent shops report mixed results for trading over Christmas period

PUBLISHED: 17:30 05 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:16 06 January 2017

The crowds were out enjoying the early January sun - but did they go shopping? (Picture: James Walters).

The crowds were out enjoying the early January sun - but did they go shopping? (Picture: James Walters).

(c) copyright citizenside.com

The festive period has brought about mixed results for Weston-super-Mare’s retailers, with some shop owners noting an improvement on last year, but others seeing a drop in takings.

The crowds were out enjoying the early January sun - but did they go shopping? (Picture: James Walters).The crowds were out enjoying the early January sun - but did they go shopping? (Picture: James Walters).

Despite five late-night shopping events in the build-up to Christmas, not all businesses took part.

Shop owners told the Mercury some improvements are still needed to draw people away from the seafront and into the town centre.

Business Improvement District chairman Paul Batts said: “Most people seem to have had a reasonable Christmas.

“From what I gather, most people were up on sales and looking favourably on December, which is encouraging.”

Big Lamp Corner.Big Lamp Corner.

Mr Batts said more signs pointing people from the seafront to the town centre shops would help to further improve trade.

Graham Hockey has run The Little Toy Box in Meadow Street for two years, and did not take part in late-night shopping this year, as his store only took a small amount of money in 2015.

He said: “It was quite a lot quieter than last year. We are 25 per cent down based on the year before.

“It has been OK, but it has been a strange year all round, and footfall has dropped down in the Meadow Street part of town.”

Mr Hockey said plans to put a metal arch in Big Lamp Corner in the new year, as an opening to Orchard Street and Meadow Street, could help.

He said pedestrianising Meadow Street during shopping hours may also encourage people to walk from High Street.

Steve Finch, owner of jewellery shop Caboodle in Meadow Street, said it had been a good Christmas overall, and comparable with last year.

He said: “The work which has been done in Weston over the past five years has been phenomenal. The seafront looks amazing, but we need that to filter into the town centre.

“We need a few more independent shops, and more large concerns which people are really interested in.

“If you have one gift to buy, there are half a dozen really good shops to find a lovely present. But over Christmas, if you have 20 gifts it becomes a real struggle, and there are a limited number of clothes stores.”

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