A campaign for late night shopping in Sheffield got off to a flying start in its first week.
The city centre saw a surge in footfall last Thursday evening when shops stayed open until 7pm as part of the AliveAfter5 campaign.
Footfall was up 30 per cent on the previous week between 5 and 7pm.
Unlike many other large UK cities Sheffield has not had a late night city centre shopping scheme until now.
The campaign run by Sheffield Business Improvement District (Bid) aims to keep people in the city centre for longer to bring a buzz to the current ‘dead zone’ between 5 and 8pm.
Bid manager Diane Jarvis said: "These are the first steps on the journey towards a vibrant early evening economy for Sheffield.”
She added that the scheme is a ‘long-term campaign’ and the increase in footfall should only be seen as an estimate as a result of data only being available for some sections of the city.
Retailers large and small have joined the campaign.
Karl Hallam, owner and optometrist at CrossEyes opticians on Devonshire Street, noticed that his customers enjoyed shopping ‘at a more relaxing time of day’.
He said: “There was definitely a really positive atmosphere outside on Devonshire Street and people were all talking about it. Hopefully it will be something that can be sustained.”
Lucy King, store manager at Marks and Spencer on Fargate, said that last Thursday saw 'a great start to the campaign'.
She added: "The customers' comments were really positive. Last week was about building the foundations but now we want to go from strength to strength and keep growing the late night shopping crowd."
Bid hopes restaurants, bars and leisure providers will join in with the evening vibe to create a social atmosphere after the traditional closing time.
Sheffielders have shown support for the new plans.
Katie Gregson, aged 26, who works in the city centre, said AliveAfter5 would make Sheffield more vibrant.
She said: “I think it’s a good thing in terms of people who are working being able to actually go and do shopping after work- more people in the city rather than going to Meadowhall!”
“I’m thinking really of when friends of mine come up from different places. Generally we wouldn’t end up staying in the city," she added.
Adrian Williams, aged 33, from Dronfield, agreed that the scheme would benefit busy office workers.He said: “When you have got the working day it’s easy to miss out on your shopping.”
The second AliveAfter5 evening coincides with the Global Village Market on Fargate as well as the Moor’s student day where a vintage market, freebies, street food, beer and music will be available until 9pm.
Diane said: “We need everyone to keep spreading the word so that people stay in the city after work to enjoy the shops, bars, restaurants and all things Sheffield."
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