Festive cheer for retailers as shoppers choose Sheffield city centre

Sheffield Christmas market.
Sheffield Christmas market.
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Shoppers are making the most of late opening hours in Sheffield city centre as a campaign to boost footfall takes hold.

Alive After Five launched at the start of November, encouraging retailers to stay open until 7pm on Thursdays.

Organised by the Sheffield Business Improvement District, or Bid, the idea is to bring new life to the early evening when footfall has historically tailed off.

With plenty of retailers now signed up and a Christmas market in the city centre for shoppers to enjoy, Bid manager Diane Jarvis said she was happy with how things had started.

“We’re just at the very start of a four-year strategy to help develop a vibrant early evening economy,” she said.

“We’ve been really pleased that so many businesses have got behind it with such enthusiasm.”

A survey of city centre workers found that about 40 per cent had so far taken advantage of the extra retail hours, and had then stayed on to meet friends for a drink and something to eat.

“It’s still very early days and we all need to keep spreading the word - and hopefully more and more people will make the most of their city centre after 5pm,” said Diane.

“That will be good for Sheffield and good for all of us.”

To help get shoppers into the Christmas spirit, the Bid has funded festive marketing materials and seasonal radio advertising. And as part of the Alive After Five social media campaign, Bid sent ‘undercover’ singers out into the city centre to surprise shoppers with Christmas tunes.

Videos posted on the Bid Facebook page show singers launching into festive favourites in various city centre shops - and even on the tram. So far more than 140,000 people have watched the videos.

Diane said: “We want all business to take advantage of the opportunities available to them through our centrally organised marketing campaign - it’s all about making Sheffield a busier, more vibrant place.”

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