Business was booming in Chichester over the festive period as shoppers flocked to the city centre – and there are high hopes for the Olympic year.
Footfall figures released by Chichester District Council show a significant increase in the numbers of people visiting the city on previous years.
City centre manager Kim Long said: “December’s figures are the best that we’ve seen since 2006, with over one million visitors coming to the city, and on December 23 and 27 we had figures reaching unprecedented numbers of more than 60,000 people.”
Overall footfall figures showed a reverse in a declining trend over the last three to four years. In 2007 12,278,397 people visited the city. This decreased to 10,990,084 in 2008, 9,812,259 in 2009 and 9,415,107 in 2010, but last year rose to 10,570,021. Figures for November and December combined were back up near the two million mark, a figure seen back in 2006 and not far from the numbers seen in 2007.
“Men’s clothing store Dartagnan reported Boxing Day was their busiest yet, which is supported by the footfall figures,” said Mrs Long. “Wednesday, December 21, and Thursday, December 22, also reflected busy days for some independents. Top Shop also reported locally that sales were good reflecting again the peak footfall days and a busy Christmas Eve. This is brilliant news for the city.”
Last new year figures showed that on Monday, January 3, 20,884 people came to Chichester, while on Tuesday, January 3, this year there were 15,286 people.
The council said this was not as high as 2010, but perhaps not unexpected as the previous week’s footfall was so high and the fact the weather was quite bad.
Councillor Myles Cullen, who has special responsibility for the economy, property and tourism, said: “After seeing figures increase by 7.2 per cent in September, following Chichester’s Big Weekend, it is wonderful to see visitors continuing to visit our beautiful city.
“We are really pleased to see such an increase in the number of people coming to Chichester over December.
“The city has so much to offer, with big high street names, a mix of independent shops, and plenty of history and culture.”