MORE than a million shoppers visited Hartlepool’s flagship shopping centre in December.
New figures posted by Middleton Grange Shopping Centre reveal that more than 1.3 million passed through the mall in the run up to Christmas – and then bag a bargain in the sales.
Shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft said the figures show Hartlepool shoppers are bucking the national trend of people deserting the high street by buying locally.
While national shopping figures are down 0.6 per cent year-on-year, Middleton Grange enjoyed a 15 per cent increase in visitors to its Boxing Day sales.
Centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “We are absolutely delighted by these figures and so pleased that Hartlepool is rising above the national trend.
“There is no doubt that online retailing is on the increase, but what we offer as a collective in Hartlepool can outweigh that by far.
“By going to your local shopping centre you’re not only able to see the goods you’re buying, you’re also securing local jobs and that is vital in the current climate.”
Middleton Grange saw a 3.73 per cent rise in visitor numbers in December compared to the previous year.
But Mr Rycraft said the centre will continue to try and entice big name stores to the centre to improve choice for shoppers.
He said: “Our specialist retail agents continue to market Middleton Grange and Hartlepool.
“The increase in footfall this year, especially at Christmas, goes some way to demonstrate to potential future retailers that we are a vibrant shopping centre and town centre worth investment.
“As a centre we also have to look at what we can do to help support our retailers.
“The children’s play area has been a welcome addition and this year we are looking at the feasibility of installing wi-fi throughout the centre.”
Mr Rycraft added that using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have helped to spread the word about special offers.
And the centre says it has also seen increasing success with many stores offering a service that lets customers order on the internet and collect in person when they are ready.