THE number of people shopping in Salisbury over the Christmas period was up on the previous year by 1.3 per cent while for January, it was up 11.8 per cent from January 2016.

The busiest trading day was December 3 with 58,396 people recorded as having visited the city centre, and noon being the busiest time of day with a footfall of 7,518.

Nationally, according to the BRC Springboard footfall index, High-Street footfall rose for the first time in five years at Christmas, despite a negative picture for sales overall. Footfall rose 0.8 per cent in the five weeks to the end of December.

Jon Osgood, Salisbury Old George Mall Centre manager, said: “Our footfall in the centre was also up. November and December started off a bit slow but after people got over Black Friday, trade recovered very well and our footfall turned out to be good, particularly as December developed, we are very pleased.”

Steve Godwin, business manager for Salisbury’s Business Improvement District (BID), said additional BID marketing which included sending out 70,000 Christmas cards advertising the Christmas market had contributed to the increase.

He said: “Our events manager Steph Shearing attended many travel trade shows during the year and thus, we attracted over 300 coaches from as far afield as Cardiff, Oxford and Birmingham for the market. Thousands of Christmas maps were printed and given out to visitors as they arrived, signposting people to areas of retail, leisure and other areas of interest with the effect of moving people around Salisbury.

“Local retailers including Debenhams have commented on how busy they were at Christmas.

“The positive trend has continued into this year, with the city’s footfall cameras showing that on Saturday, January 28, 46,112 people came into the city.”