Black Friday meant a surge in online sales for many people - but in Bedford it also saw a huge 37% increase in shoppers in the town compared with last year.
Bedford Borough Council is hoping to build on this support for local traders and is encouraging residents, businesses and visitors to get behind a campaign to celebrate Christmas in the borough.
‘Join us for a Bedford Christmas’ aims to encourage more people to do their shopping, eating and celebrating with local retailers and suppliers and help to support local businesses.
With lots going on in the borough over the Christmas period the campaign will increase peoples’ awareness of the benefits of buying food, produce and gifts from Bedford’s local retailers and markets.
The campaign highlights the vast range of independent retailers across the borough and encourages people to buy locally supporting businesses and strengthening the local economy.
To help people buy locally the council has set up dedicated pages providing information on the range of offers available locally, ideas to keep the family entertained and places to meet, eat and drink.
Entertainment highlights this festive season have included a Christmas Charter Market in the town centre, festive fair at Bromham Mill, Clapham Big Christmas Tree Switch On; Bedford town centre Christmas Fair, Pop Up shop, ice skating at the Swan Hotel, Cubist Christmas event at the Higgins Bedford.
More information about these events and how you can support the campaign are available online at www.christmasinbedford.co.uk
Free parking is already available for two hours on Saturday and all day on Sunday in Bedford town centre and has included free parking and late night shopping on Wednesday evenings in the run up courtesy of Bedford Bid.
Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, said: “We want to help increase people’s awareness of the wealth of high quality traders and retailers spread right across the borough.
“Our webpages provide easy access to a range of information about shopping, celebrating and entertainment in Bedford Borough during the festive season. Black Friday saw a huge boost to the numbers visiting the town, and we hope this campaign will encourage even more support for the local economy and local traders.”