Aylesbury’s festive footfall falls BUT sales remain high

Hale Leys reported a decrease in footfall over the Christmas period
Hale Leys reported a decrease in footfall over the Christmas period
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Fewer people spent more in Aylesbury over the Christmas period, according to a new town centre partnership report.

The report indicated that Hale Leys Shopping Centre’s footfall fell by 10% compared to 2011 (worse off than the national average decrease of 5%) and Friars Square also recorded a decrease.

However, Aylesbury Town Centre manager, Diana Fawcett, refused to be downbeat and pointed to Hale Leys’ increase in festive sales from 2011, Friars Square meeting its sales target and numerous events as reasons for optimism.

She said: “The sales are up and that’s obviously positive news.

“Last year we had over 300 free events in the town and we had between 8-9,000 turn out for the Christmas lights switch on.

“Some of the stores reported that it was as busy as their busiest Saturday of the year (that night).”

Mrs Fawcett added one potential reason behind the decrease in footfall at Hale Leys was the lack of stores offering extended late night shopping.

It was a thought echoed by Hale Leys manager Roger Simmons who said the shops’ choice of only offering one week’s worth of late night shopping, compared to two weeks in previous years, had proved detrimental.

However, the town centre manager said her attentions were now on bettering 2012 as she draws up the events list for the new year.

She added: “What a great year it was, a real busy year. It’s very rare to have the Olympic torch come through the town followed by the Paralmypic light ceremony.

“We’ve been reviewing our events of last year. We need to make sure we can repeat things that worked well for us last year as well as introduce new events.”