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One million shoppers head to Whitgift Centre in Croydon before Christmas

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A MILLION people flooded the Whitgift Centre in the week before Christmas as Croydon's retailers were handed a much-needed festive boost.

The year which saw the collapse of Allders, the town's oldest store, ended on a higher note, with most shops reporting an upturn in Christmas trade, compared to 2011.

And the new year sales proved a hit too, with people queuing from as early as 8am on Boxing Day, to snap up some bargains.

Andrew Bauer, director of the Whitgift Centre, said it was too early to assess how much its stores made over the festive period but says the signs point to a profitable Christmas.

He said: "All the indicators are that the majority of our retailers saw positive trading over the Christmas and new year period.

"They have not just increased sales but also increased profits [compared to last year]. There was good, steady business throughout December but we saw a massive rush in the last five days.

"In the week before Christmas we had in excess of a million people here."

Mr Bauer said the closure of Allders had helped some other stores increase trade, while he also pointed to the lack of pre-Christmas discount sales as a sign profits were healthier this year.

Referring to the December 26 rush, Mr Bauer added: "Boxing Day is the new, New Year's Day in terms of the sales. Most stores opened at 10am but some opened at 8am because of the sheer demand."

David Ordman, general manager at Centrale, said 1,000 people queued outside Next on Boxing Day to beat the sales rush.

He said: "As expected, Boxing Day was our busiest shopping day yet, attracting three times the number of people on a normal trading day."

Croydon BID put on five weeks of events in the run-up to Christmas and chief executive Matt Sims felt this helped to boost footfall.

He added: "Overall, we're pleased with what we delivered. The aim was to attract people to Croydon in the hope they would then spend their money here."

One million shoppers head to Whitgift Centre in Croydon before Christmas


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