More shoppers in town over the festive season with sales luring thousands

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Many more people visited Bedford Town Centre this Christmas and New Year than the year before.

The pattern for December followed on from great visitor numbers recorded in November and demonstrates that people were deciding to shop in their local town centre during the festive season.

For the week of December 22 until December 28 footfall was up by 20% compared to the previous year and Bedford was bucking the trend as in the rest of the East footfall was down by 1%.

The American-style Black Friday was interesting with a huge increase of 37% in footfall compared to the previous year in the town centre.

The Harpur Centre recorded 100,000 visitors over the Boxing Day sale weekend.

Director of BedfordBiD Christina Rowe said: “It shows that we are doing things right here in Bedford.

“The combined efforts of the BID and others, and the national push by big retailers to encourage people to come into town centres, worked. It may have been through ‘click and collect’ but people visited in greater numbers.

“Free parking always helps and making sure that people understand they have plenty of choice in town is critical.

“We will keep up the good work in 2015.”

The national Small Business Saturday on December 6, however, failed to strike a chord, with less people visiting Bedford on that Saturday than the year before, and was down by 4.7%.