Surge of shoppers expected in Doncaster today

Doncaster town centre looking busy ahead of what is expected to be the busiest day of the year, the last Saturday before Christmas

Doncaster town centre looking busy ahead of what is expected to be the busiest day of the year, the last Saturday before Christmas

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Shops in Doncaster are today gearing up for their busiest day of what traders say has been a record breaking year.

Officials from the Frenchgate Centre, Doncaster Market and town centre managers say trade has been the best in years, buoyed by mild weather and free parking.

Doncaster Market is also expecting its busiest day.

Doncaster Market Traders Federation president Mick Maye said: “The town will be really busy and certain the market food hall will be packed out. I would certainly expect it to be the busiest day of the year there.

“This has been the best year of Christmas trading at the market for between five and eight years. That has been because the weather has been kind to us, mild and without snow, and because the economic climate has picked up.”

Bosses at the Frenchgate were also expecting a run on the shops today.

Centre manager, Laurie Barton-Wright, said: “This week has been steady but we expect a surge in shoppers from today onwards, over the weekend and into early next week.

“A lot of people will have been paid Friday and have the luxury of Christmas falling later next week – meaning they have three days to shop, so there’s still more time.

“We’re well prepared for the increase in numbers. We have additional staff on the car park and the customer service desk, so essentials like parking and gift card sales will be as hassle free as possible, with mobile gift card sales available via our iPads so customer don’t always have to queue.

“However, it’s inevitable that with the Christmas rush the centre will be busier during the day and so we’ll also be handing out free Christmas chocolates to people if they are queuing – something that always raises a smile!

“Customers looking for a quieter time to shop can make use of our late night opening hours. We are open until 6pm tonight (Saturday) as well as 8pm Monday and Tuesday.”

Doncaster Council bosses believe free parking places in the run-up to Christmas will boost the shops.

Mayor Ros Jones said: “It’s the last weekend before Christmas and looks set to be bustling in the town centre.

I am encouraging shoppers to buy local and take advantage of our fantastic market, Frenchgate Centre and High Street shops.

“I have introduced free council-owned spaces at Chappell Drive and Marshgate car parks in Doncaster for every day in December to support businesses.”

Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon says Doncaster is the fifth most festive place in the country, based on sales to borough residents on festive products, including tinsel, selection boxes, decorations and Father Christmas costumes, in the past year from Amazon.co.uk.

Doncaster’s residents have the honour buying the most Christmas selection boxes.

Officials from the Frenchgate Centre, Doncaster Market and town centre managers say trade has been the best in years, buoyed by mild weather and free parking.

Doncaster Market traders Lyn Dawson and Margaret Maye getting ready for the Saturday rush before Christmas

Doncaster Market traders Lyn Dawson and Margaret Maye getting ready for the Saturday rush before Christmas

Doncaster Market is also expecting its busiest day.

Doncaster Market Traders Federation president Mick Maye said: “The town will be really busy and certain the market food hall will be packed out. I would certainly expect it to be the busiest day of the year there.

“This has been the best year of Christmas trading at the market for between five and eight years. That has been because the weather has been kind to us, mild and without snow, and because the economic climate has picked up.”

Bosses at the Frenchgate were also expecting a run on the shops today.

Centre manager, Laurie Barton-Wright, said: “This week has been steady but we expect a surge in shoppers from today onwards, over the weekend and into early next week.

“A lot of people will have been paid Friday and have the luxury of Christmas falling later next week – meaning they have three days to shop, so there’s still more time.

“We’re well prepared for the increase in numbers. We have additional staff on the car park and the customer service desk, so essentials like parking and gift card sales will be as hassle free as possible, with mobile gift card sales available via our iPads so customer don’t always have to queue.

“However, it’s inevitable that with the Christmas rush the centre will be busier during the day and so we’ll also be handing out free Christmas chocolates to people if they are queuing – something that always raises a smile!

“Customers looking for a quieter time to shop can make use of our late night opening hours. We are open until 6pm tonight (Saturday) as well as 8pm Monday and Tuesday.”

Doncaster Council bosses believe free parking places in the run-up to Christmas will boost the shops.

Mayor Ros Jones said: “It’s the last weekend before Christmas and looks set to be bustling in the town centre.

I am encouraging shoppers to buy local and take advantage of our fantastic market, Frenchgate Centre and High Street shops.

“I have introduced free council-owned spaces at Chappell Drive and Marshgate car parks in Doncaster for every day in December to support businesses.”

Meanwhile, online retailer Amazon says Doncaster is the fifth most festive place in the country, based on sales to borough residents on festive products, including tinsel, selection boxes, decorations and Father Christmas costumes, in the past year from Amazon.co.uk.

Doncaster’s residents have the honour buying the most Christmas selection boxes.