Tyne & Wear

Newcastle city centre late night shopping 'a success'

Newcastle (pic courtesy of Freefoto)
Image caption Many shops in Newcastle have been staying open into the evening

A campaign in Newcastle to "bring the city alive after five" has had a positive impact, organisers have said.

Since the end of October, outlets in Eldon Square and some other retailers have been open until 2000 GMT on weekdays, and 1900 GMT on Saturdays.

There was also free parking at eight multi-storey car parks.

During the first four weeks there were an additional 180,00 visitors to the city centre compared to the previous year, a rise of almost 15%.

The figures were collated by Springboard, which provides consumer and high street statistics.

Anecdotal results from retailers were also positive with some stores reporting significant increases in sales over and above those normally expected in the run up to Christmas.

Restaurants reported a rise in early evening custom, with some recruiting additional staff.

Stephen Patterson, commercial manager of NE1 Ltd, which organised the launch of the campaign, said it had got off to a "flying start".

"In the current economic climate it is excellent to see Newcastle performing so well," he said.

"We're now working hard to build on this success and to ensure that we can maintain the momentum even during the long, tough winter months ahead."

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