Tills ringing at the region’s shops

Shopping centres and high streets across the region are braced for one of the busiest weekends of the year as people were warned of busy trains and congestion on the roads in the days ahead as the Christmas getaway begins.

Retailers are gearing up for a busy weekend and are hoping their tills will be ringing as shoppers hit high streets across the region in search of last-minute bargains and gifts in what is the last shopping weekend before Christmas.

Today is also predicted to be very busy on the roads as well as people begin their holidays and people are out and about shopping and delivering gifts. Some of the region’s retailers said there was evidence that Britain’s economic recovery was spilling into the high street.

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Deb O’Donnell, centre manager at York’s Vangarde Shopping Park said: “As Vangarde Shopping Park enters into its second festive period, we have continued to see an increase in visitors to the shopping park in comparison to last year, naturally leading to an increase in sales.”

Promenades Shopping Centre, in Bridlington, said events such as the visit of the Coca Cola truck earlier this month had helped bring in the shoppers. “The fact that we saw a 14.4% increase in footfall when the Coca Cola Truck was here proved the impact it had in drawing people into Bridlington and we are delighted with the results,” Maria Kamper, centre manager said.

Francesca Simpson, marketing manager at the White Rose shopping centre, in Leeds, said: “The run up to Christmas 2015 has been a particularly busy period for the White Rose shopping centre. This is partly due to the fact that many of our resident retailers are holding sales that are too good for shoppers to miss.

“We also believe that the strengthening British economy is encouraging more people to spend this year.”

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David Maddison, general manager at Trinity Leeds said: “2015 has brought with it a significant increase in consumer confidence at Trinity Leeds, which has grown in the last couple of months leading up to Christmas.

He added: “We also expect Boxing Day to be equally successful as savvy shoppers head out in force to take advantage of the discounts.”

The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, urged people to get back to basics this Christmas saying: “Christmas is fundamentally a celebration of God being down to earth.”

Families hoping for Christmas getaways this weekend will have to negotiate delayed trains and congested roads up and down the country. There were also warnings that weather with outbreaks of heavy rain possible today.

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People are being warned that travel routes will be busy in the coming days. Rail services were hit after speed restrictions were imposed near Huntingdon as well as a signalling problem at London King’s Cross. The issue was causing delays of up to 30 minutes to trains between London King’s Cross and Peterborough, earlier yesterday.

While flooding and landslips caused by heavy rain from Storm Desmond mean there will be a severely-reduced ScotRail service between Glasgow and Carlisle all weekend. However Highways England has pledged the majority of roads across England should be free from roadworks by 6am on Wednesday.