The tills are ringing: More people shopped in Bedford this festive season

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The number of people visiting Bedford to do their festive shopping has increased, bucking the national trend.

Official statistics on footfall across the UK and the region show that Bedford has beaten national figures for visitors.

During the critical Christmas shopping week, from December 21 to 27, footfall was up by 3.1 per cent in Bedford compared to the previous year, while across the East as a whole it had dropped by 2.8 per cent and nationally footfall was down by 2.3 per cent.

Christina Rowe, director of BedfordBID which promotes business and supports trade, said “People keep coming back to Bedford because they enjoy the choice and character, new people come into town as a result of our wide ranging advertising both online and in print which is largely funded by businesses via the BID fund.

“The challenge now is keep people coming back in 2016 - and we have plenty planned.”

There was also success at the Harpur Centre where the decision to change late night shopping from Wednesdays to Thursdays proved a hit.

Centre manager Samantha Laycock said: “Shoppers took advantage of the extended opening times and car parking offers. Through the week of Christmas, footfall increased by 4.9 cent with our busiest day being Wednesday, December 23 where over 40,000 visitors shopped local within the Harpur Centre.”

Footfall was also up following Christmas as shoppers dashed out to pick up bargains.