A SALISBURY department store is offering to pay for shoppers' parking costs this week to encourage more business in the city centre.

Debenhams has today (Monday) launched a campaign aiming to boost footfall in its store by picking up the cost of two hours' parking when shoppers spend £50 or more in store.

A spokesman for the brand said it hoped to encourage shoppers to meet with friends and family to browse their high street store rather than shopping online.

Customers should produce a photo or ticket at the till point as proof of parking for the cost of two hours parking to be deducted from goods purchased, and the scheme will run until Sunday (December 9).

Store manager Mark Davies said: “We want to encourage shoppers to come and not only do a bit of Debenhams but also meet with friends and family and get into the Christmas spirit by seeing everything that is going on along their high street.

"We hope that by taking away the pain of a parking ticket that we’ll do our bit to encourage shoppers to hit the high street and rediscover their joy of shopping.”

And Salisbury City Council leader Matthew Dean said he was "delighted" with the initiative, adding: "Our high streets act as important community hubs as well as providing employment for a great many local people.

"We hope that shoppers will take advantage of this free parking offer and come down to see what festive activities are taking place in Salisbury.

"There are many events and activities taking place in the City this Christmas from the Nutcracker Trail to the Christmas Tree Festival to our Festive Sunday Markets – Salisbury is a great place to shop and visit”."

Praise was echoed by Robin McGowan, Salisbury BID Chief Executive who said: "Following an unprecedented year in the city, we hope shoppers will take advantage of this free parking offer and support Salisbury’s businesses by shopping local this Christmas.”