With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, towns and cities across the country are stepping up efforts to boost high street trade, with a range of different initiatives aimed at bringing in more footfall.
The Mercury Shopping Centre in Romford is making a particular effort, with over 50 pre-Christmas events to provide plenty of extra attractions and entertainment, the Romford Recorder reports. These include the traditional Santa’s Grotto, a craft fayre by local artisan traders, and an exercise where youngsters can search for images of animals in shop windows using the centre’s rewards app.
Another example of extra efforts being undertaken can be seen in the Herefordshire town of Ross-on-Wye, the Hereford Times has revealed.
Its town centre is staging late night shopping, a Saturday market, a country market, a Christmas concert and a small business craft fair, with extra help coming from the town’s cinema as it shows a series of Christmas-themed films.
These initiatives may help bring plenty of shoppers into the high streets and shopping centres at a time when many will have become more habitual online shoppers or feel more cautious about venturing into crowded areas amid news of rising Covid cases and concerns over the emerging Omicron variant, which appears to spread more easily than Delta.
Stores may need to make good use of retail maintenance services as they go through the busy festive season, as high levels of footfall could lead to more wear and tear and damage, while they will also need to adjust for a new wave of shoppers as the post-Christmas sales get underway.
While Romford and Ross-on-Wye have put on a plethora of different events, a shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds might have accidentally hit upon a spectacularly successful way of grabbing the public’s attention.
The Arc Shopping Centre’s Santa’s Grotto has been marketed as the ‘Bury Santa Experience’, which has led to much mockery on social media when it was announced last month as some wondered where Santa is to be buried, and whether they should bring a spade.
Mayor Peter Thompson told the BBC the unfortunate connotation may have been “marketing genius” as bookings were going very well.