BOURNEMOUTH'S popular coastal areas bucked the national trend to attract an influx of shoppers over the Christmas period.

Footfall in Westbourne for December was up by a huge 18 per cent while Southbourne also recorded a year on year increase.

This compares with a 3.3 per cent reduction in footfall at shopping areas across the UK.

Throughout December a number of events took place in Bournemouth with the aim of attracting additional shoppers and highlighting local businesses. This included a series of Victorian Christmas Markets in Westbourne, a Christmas parade, Bournemouth’s biggest Christmas Tree and Folklore Market in Boscombe, plus a Nativity Parade and Amazing Elves event in Southbourne.

Bournemouth’s coastal business community also launched a sophisticated virtual reality Christmas campaign to get families out and about. This encouraged people to hunt for and take selfies with the 12 elves of Christmas, hidden in local businesses, using a smartphone app.

Stefan Krause, Bournemouth Coastal BID Manager, said: "So far Christmas footfall figures across Bournemouth’s coastal areas are looking really positive. Bucking the national trend, this will have provided local businesses with a welcomed boost as more people chose to shop locally.

"It is also testament to the quality of our local businesses and our standout Christmas offering."

Justin Brandon, director of Scape Interiors West in Westbourne Arcade said: "We experienced a record-breaking Christmas period with trade up by 15 per cent compared to our previous best year in 2010. We conducted our own in-house research and found overwhelmingly that many of our more frequent customers, were coming into Westbourne more often because of additional parking facilities."

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