Shopping centres see record visits

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Ten of the UK’s biggest shopping centres attracted more than 2.5m visitors during the first three days of the post-Christmas sales.

Property firm Hammerson said the footfall figure for its portfolio of regional centres represented an increase of six per cent on a year ago and included more than 900,000 bargain hunters on Tuesday.

The company’s estate consists of Union Square in Aberdeen, Silverburn in Glasgow, Bullring in Birmingham, Highcross in Leicester, Queensgate in Peterborough, Brent Cross in North London, The Oracle in Reading, WestQuay in Southampton, Centrale in Croydon and Cabot Circus in Bristol.

The firm is planning to open shopping centres in Leeds and Sheffield in the future.

Despite the challenging economic conditions, chief executive David Atkins said there had been some “exceptional trading” over the festive period.

He added: “With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, many customers left shopping to the last minute. However, the momentum has continued.

“Centres across the country have been reporting record breaking numbers of visitors looking to take advantage of Boxing Day sales.”

Hammerson said Brent Cross enjoyed its busiest ever pre-Christmas trading day on December 23, as well its busiest Christmas Eve on record with 135,000 people visiting over the two days.

The centre also reported its busiest ever Boxing Day – an increase of 27 per cent on the previous year.

In Aberdeen, footfall increased by 36 per cent for Boxing Day with laptops, televisions and tablet computers proving popular.

Southampton saw a Boxing Day increase of 43 per cent on 2010.