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27th Jun, 2022

Late night shopping on the cards to boost city economy

Worcester Editorial 24th Apr, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

LATE night shopping could be introduced throughout the year in a bid to boost the city’s economy.

Worcester City Council is considering proposals to extend the opening hours of shops in the city centre for one day a week.

A similar scheme takes place during the festival period with most businesses staying opening until 9pm every Thursday in the lead up to Christmas.

But Coun Adrian Gregson, leader of Worcester City Council, confirmed discussions were underway to have late night shopping all year round.

“We are now looking at extending the effectiveness of the Christmas opening hours, which has been in place for a considerable amount of time, and run that throughout the year,” he said.

“It is subject to discussion with Worcester BID and other members of the retail community, but if there is anything we can do to assist that work then we will endeavour to do that.”

Coun Geoff Williams, cabinet member for Economic Prosperity, said the council would also need to consider introducing free car parking in the evening if it goes ahead with the scheme.

Adrian Field, manager of Worcester BID, said a lot of work would need to be done to get businesses behind the idea of late night shopping.

“The British retailers traditionally work between 9am and 5.30pm and there has not been much flexibility with that,” he said.

“I think businesses will have to buy into the idea for a sustained period of time as it is not one which is going to be instantly successful. It has got to develop and grow like Sunday trading has done, so they have got to be in it for the long haul.”

But Mr Field added: “What I have suggested is that it needs to be done when the economy is perhaps a little bit stronger than it is now because businesses will need to pay for heating, lighting and staff costs if they stay open longer.

“At the moment I don’t think it is quite the right time, but we are heading in the right direction in terms of the economy.

“It has got a lot of potential, but it needs a lot of planning and a big commitment from businesses.”

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