Diamond Jubilee boosts business at Sunderland shopping centre

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THE Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations proved a right royal shot in the arm for traders in The Bridges.

New figures from the British Retail Consortium show shoppers nationwide spent 1.4 per cent more in June than the previous year, as the Jubilee combined with a brief break in the rotten weather.

The 60th anniversary party for the Queen proved particularly successful for shops in The Bridges, in Sunderland, which played host to a stunning display of replica Crown Jewels.

“We saw a really positive uplift in the number of people coming through the centre,” said Bridges boss Andy Bradley.

“People loved the display and we were thrilled to bits with the reaction to it. We don’t know yet how successful it has been in terms of spend, but footfall was up by more than five per cent.”

The Jubilee celebrations and warm weather saw a strong start to the trading period nationally, with food and drink, clothing and footwear and online retail all performing particularly well during the week before the big day.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “It was the bunting boost. June was saved by the feelgood lift of the Jubilee, showing how crucial these temporary factors are in our difficult trading conditions.

“A trip to the shops played a big part in preparations for the occasion.

“The week leading up to the long weekend was a stand-out for the retail sector. Food and clothing and footwear retailers had the best of it as people bought in special food and drink and, encouraged by warmer weather, some treated themselves to shorts, dresses and sandals.

“Sadly,, the soggy celebrations over the Jubilee weekend itself, which heralded the start of the wettest June on record, were followed by far weaker business for the rest of the month.

“Belts were tightened again and the lower temperatures cooled demand for summer fashions and outdoor leisure goods.

“With the first half of the year complete, we can see total sales growth between this January and June was no better than in 2011. It’s clear a permanent upturn in confidence and spending has yet to happen.

“Scrapping next month’s fuel duty rise will help hard-pressed customers and businesses. The Government needs to be equally supportive as it considers where next for other costs it controls.”

Twitter: @Sunechobiz