Christmas lights give retailers festive boost

By Matthew Bates Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 27/11 14:56

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Buy photos » Roy Wood rocks Broadgate 47.012.030.cov.nc19

THOUSANDS of shoppers headed to Coventry for its Christmas lights switch-on - giving retailers a much-needed boost.

Around 8,000 people packed into Broadgate on Sunday to see Roy Wood perform festive favourite I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.

And that's what city shops were left thinking after West Orchards reported a 57 per cent rise in visitor numbers on the previous weekend.

"It was fantastic for us," centre manager Andy Talbot told the Observer.

"There was an increase in visitor numbers and an increase in the time people spent in the shopping centre.

"Shopping centres and the council have worked closely together and it was good that something was happening from 11am all the way through the day.

"Every day is getting noticeably busier than the last and there's definitely a more positive outlook this year."

Mick McLaughlin, from Coventry City Council - which organised the light switch-on - added: "There was a fantastic crowd and a real family atmosphere..

"Broadgate was full to capacity and at a guess I'd say there were around 5,000 more people in the city centre than usual.

"We're hoping to build on that in the run up to Christmas and I'd say thank you to the people of Coventry for supporting this event."

He added the £7,000 spent on ex-Wizzard frontman Wood - and nine-piece Functionality - was good value for money.

And he said the new-look Broadgate - which missed out on last year's Christmas celebrations due to building work - needed to be used as much as possible.

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