SHOP owners have raised concerns about the Christmas market in Chichester, claiming it lowers their footfall and is of no benefit to traders in the city centre.
Mandy Rose, manager of East Street’s Little Shop Of Secrets, had a lot to say about the Christmas market and late night shopping.
“The Christmas market takes away the footfall from the shops who pay business rates all year round. They will say the footfall has gone up but it is just the market which has done well.
“We even had a town crier up our end of East Street shouting for people to go to the market. Every Christmas it is always better for us when the market isn’t here.
“As soon as it goes our takings go back up.”
And it wasn’t only Mandy who complained about the market. Clayton Riches, of Little London’s jewellery store Urban Nature, said: “There is plenty of space to have a market like this somewhere else. It isn’t just the market, but all the traders and food stalls down the street, too.
“I think it is wrong to have a market in a place where people are paying business rates, and they bring in the same stock people are already selling.
“At least have nice food stalls, and maybe an ice rink as they do in Winchester.”
Daniel and Sarah Elsom run Bloomingsville in St Martins Square, and they weren’t fans of the market, either.
Daniel said: “It is our first Christmas in Chichester but I do not think the market does us any favours. It is not a nice Christmas market, and doesn’t benefit us at all.
“It is just market stalls – it lets Chichester down. We pay business rates and they take all the extra custom we should be benefiting from.”
Kim Long, the city centre manager, said the market did help the footfall of the city, and the figures speak for themselves.
She said: “The City Centre Partnership is absolutely convinced the marketing for the Christmas Market was a success with more than 300,000 people coming into the city.
“This equates to 50,000 more people than the same week last year and 90,000 more than the same week in 2010. The market successfully reversed a declining trend in footfall.
“The live nativity was a huge success as always and the partnership would like to thank all the businesses that gave electricity to avoid the use of generators and to Marks and Spencer for hosting the nativity.”