Lancaster’s civic pride is alive and well according to one city trader who has been inundated with purchases of Lancaster branded goods over the Christmas period.
Julie Courtney at Town House Gallery in Penny Street said Lancaster branded bags and goods were being sold to people from all over the world.
Christmas trade in Lancaster was “steady” according to one clothes shop owner, while a city landlord said December had been “busier overall” than the last couple of years.
Tim Tomlinson, chair of Lancaster PubWatch and landlord at The Merchants and The White Cross pubs said: “From my point of view the Christmas festivities seemed to start a little earlier this year with people spreading their works’ and mates’ dos out. This made for a steadier and more relaxed December, less focused around one or two big nights.
“Better for customers and staff alike as people would get served quicker in a more pleasant environment and have a better night out.
“Friday December 16 and Saturday December 17 were probably the busiest and we were expecting a crazy Friday December 23 which in the end turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.
“There was a lot of day trade over the break between Christmas and New Year which seemed to come from more shoppers out and about and visiting Lancaster from other towns and cities.
“So all in all a good December, busier over all than the last couple of years, but more evenly spread out and therefore more enjoyable for all concerned as a result.” Julie Courtney from Town House Gallery said free parking incentives had a big affect on trade.
She said: “The difference free parking makes to footfall in the city is unbelievable.
“When the floods happened in December 2015, they relaxed the parking fees on some Saturdays and they were phenomenal trading days.
“That wasn’t repeated again this year, and it made a big difference.
“The BID’s Free After 3pm parking initiative was great too.
“There’s been a bit of worry about the Bay Gateway taking trade away from Lancaster, but on the other side, we’ve got new customers from Barrow because of the new Primark.
“We’ve also been selling a lot of Lancaster branded bags and other things to people all over the world so there’s definitely a lot of civic pride.”
Tiffany Moore, partner at Renes Fashion in Common Garden Street said: “They did good with the late nights and the Sundays but I don’t think they make it known enough.
“Trade has been steady. We’ve had customers from Barrow who have come for Primark, passed our shop first and spent money here.”
Nigel Broadbent, owner of Peter Charles in New Street, said: “Christmas trading was fine, no complaints.
“People come specially here, so it’s not really about passing trade.”
Rachael Wilkinson, Lancaster BID Manager said that footfall impressions in Lancaster city centre were up 4.2 per cent in the week leading up to Christmas, compared to the equivalent week in 2015.
She said: “Some businesses have quoted the 2016 festive shopping period as ‘wonderful’ with high sales and visitors coming to Lancaster from further afield.
“It was great that, again this year, we agreed with Lancaster City Council to provide Thursday late night and Sunday free car parking to encourage shoppers to visit Lancaster to do their Christmas shopping.
“The late night shopping Christmas entertainment, Christmas marketing, free car parking and the high profile events which Lancaster BID delivered, including The Coca Cola Truck and Lancaster Christmas Lights Switch-On, brought high volumes of visitors to the city centre over the festive period to benefit the businesses who operate here in the run up to Christmas.”