Friday, 24 December 2010

Shopping Centres See Strong Sales Amid The Snow

Trafford Centre's seen sales rise despite the snow

By Ben Aulakh

Some of the biggest shopping centres in England have seen their share of the Christmas sales rise, despite the heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.

The Trafford Centre in Manchester welcomed more shoppers through its doors this week than during the same period last year.

The Bluewater Shopping Centre in London has also reported normal Christmas shopping since Sunday, having only experienced a dip in sales on Saturday.

Gordon McKinnon, Director of Operations at the Trafford Centre said, “We’ve welcomed more shoppers this week than the same period last year – which is extraordinary considering the weather that many people in the region have had to face recently.

“Stores are buzzing and our retailers tell us their sales are up on last year, which is great news.”

Footfall numbers at the mall were also up last weekend, after staff went all out to clear the snow and ice, and have the car parks ready to welcome shoppers.

Mr McKinnon also cites the fact that public transport has not been heavily affected in the Northwest as a reason for the strong trading figures.

Andrew Parkinson, General Manager at the Bluewater Shopping Centre said, “Bluewater is open and we have been prepared for the adverse weather. 

“So, whilst footfall was affected on Saturday, Sunday was very positive with everything returning to normal, people are also shopping around the snow.” 

“On Saturday, for example, a large number of guests continued to shop as the snow fell, waiting to leave until the weather had improved.”

Both Trafford and Bluewater have also been offering a number of enticements to encourage present hunters through their doors.

At the Trafford staff introduced longer trading hours this week, starting with extended opening in the evening, and being open for an extra hour in the mornings.

Bluewater have introduced a similar offer to shoppers, with their ‘Mega Days’ seeing shops open until 11pm from December 20 to 23.

Mr Parkinson said that staff at Bluewater have also been well prepared to deal with the adverse weather, “We have a team of 160 people working to keep us open, and we have remained so throughout the snow.

“Also, people are determined not to leave friends and family disappointed at Christmas.” 

It’s been a similar story at the Trafford Centre, Mr McKinnon added, “We have a complex snow-clearing and gritting operation and 24-hour surveillance on heating and water supplies.

“This, in addition to extended opening hours and regular weather and travel updates on our website, has ensured that the poor weather has not prevented Christmas at the centre.”

“The feedback from our retailers is that people are arriving to shop are on a mission to spend.”

Photographs courtesy of the Trafford Centre

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