Bedford town centre traders had a ‘Christmas cracker’ with the ‘Love Bedford’ promotion campaign helping to attract customers who put millions of pounds into local tills.
BedfordBID runs the ‘Love Bedford’ initiative and director Christina Rowe, said: “The big boost started with people coming into the town centre for the start of late night shopping and the Christmas lights switch-on day of November 24.
“From 3pm onwards people piled in to see Santa and the TV dance crew Boogie Storm at Harpur Square.
“The footfall figures rose and rose compared to last year’s switch on day and provided ample opportunity for town centre shops to show people what they had to offer. “The proof of the success of Bedford’s switch on day is that compared to last year our footfall was up 4.7% when the rest of the South East’s shopping was down 5.6 per cent.
“In the week commencing December 5th Bedford was up 7.8 per cent compared to a drop of 8 per cent in the South East.
“Once again Bedford is bucking the trend in keeping customers coming back.”
Harpur Centre Manager and BedfordBID Chair, Sam Laycock added: “We are delighted to have seen the Love Bedford-led town team work has paid off.
“Free parking undoubtedly helps, but the good news has to reach far and wide and the BedfordBID’s Love Bedford regional advertising campaign made sure people in a wide radius knew how much we have on offer.
“We also found that the discount codes to visit Santa were taken up well via the Love Bedford Christmas magazine. In fact visits to Santa were up 4% compared to last year.
“Bedford is a great place to be in business right now. With the Harpur Centre under new ownership and celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017, and also with the classical Victorian Arcade in different hands, investment is pouring in.
“The multi-million Riverside North development with cinema, shops and more opens in 2017 and is expected to bring 100,000s of visitors to the town centre.
Bedford Business Improvement District is a legalised zone where all but the smallest businesses pay a levy into a pot managed by those same businesses.
January sales are now underway in many stores in town, with others coming in to spend their Christmas money and vouchers they were given as gifts.
Love Bedford gift vouchers make a good gift all year round and can now be bought online.
BedfordBID is encouraging companies to back Bedford by offering the vouchers as rewards for customers and staff.
Bedford College has reinvested hundreds of thousands of pounds into the town by using this scheme when rewarding students and staff.