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Fabulous festive season predicted for Winchester business
2:20pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in News
WINCHESTER businesses are looking forward to the festive season after a very successful summer.
Visitors flocked to the city with footfall in June, July and August up by 5.5 per cent on the same period in 2012.
Catherine Turness, BID manager, said: “It has been a very successful summer for the city. Winchester is bucking trends with visitor numbers and profit margins rising.
“In the second half, although growth was subdued during the very cold months of March and April, trading during the summer was strong and built upon the success of the growth seen during the Jubilee and Olympic periods last year.”
One-off events like the Winchester Criterium and Cycle Fair helped, with the cycling race bringing 2,000-3,000 people to the city, leading to a 101 per cent increase in footfall in the lower High Street compared to the same Sunday the year before.
Winchester Hat Fair attendance figures were also higher than previous years thanks to the good weather.
Meanwhile the High Street vacancy rate is still low, with only 6.2 per cent of units unoccupied compared to 11.7 per cent nationally.
There are more special events to come, including the annual Christmas lights switch-on and the opening of the Christmas market and ice rink that both bring thousands to the city.
Entertainment for the lights event on November 14 has not been confirmed yet but Miss Turness said it would be “experience-based” entertainment rather than a traditional act, with bands like The Hoosiers previously appearing.
Miss Turness added: “Winchester BID is involved in creating a vibrant Christmas shopping experience and we are working in collaboration with Winchester Cathedral and the council to help ‘England’s Christmas Capital’ have a successful period of trading.”
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