Scunthorpe traders hoping for Christmas boost from free parking scheme
Preparations for the festive season are well under way in Scunthorpe with the Christmas lights switch-on hoping to signal a boost to town centre traders.
North Lincolnshire Council has teamed up with Lincs FM for the big switch-on that will take place on Thursday, November 22.
With Christmas less than six weeks away, town centre traders are hoping for a boost in business as the countdown to Christmas gets under way.
Shops throughout the town are preparing for the festive period, that represents the busiest time of year for traders.
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And you can help support them by using the free parking vouchers in our Go To Town campaign.
The Works, on High Street, has taken on two additional temporary members of staff to cover the Christmas and January sales period.
The store specialises in books but also stocks a range of gifts and Christmas accessories.
Richard Atherton, manager of the store, said: "Christmas is really important and this is where we get the most customers.
"We get a quarter of our year's sales in the next two months.
"We have already taken on some new staff and they will be here until January."
Mr Atherton said trade at the store had been slow recently but he hoped for an upturn in the coming weeks.
He said: "We usually see a boost around about now and it is usually after Halloween that it starts to pick up.
"We are hoping for something similar this year."
Bosses at party planning shop Celebrate are another business hoping for extra custom in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
The Robert Street outlet is holding craft fairs on the first three Saturdays in December in a bid to attract more people through the door.
Matthew Stephenson, co-owner of the business, said: "We are giving it our best shot and putting every effort into it.
"Christmas is important to everybody and you have got to take advantage of it because after Christmas, you get a lull."
The shop has a range of bespoke Christmas goods, including cards and confectionery.
Prior to the lights switch-on, Macmillan Cancer Support will be hosting a Christmas Inspiration Fair in Church Square from 2pm.
An array of crafts and other gift ideas will be on offer that will help support the charities work.
The Christmas lights switch-on will also be the start of extended opening hours for shops on the High Street.
Shoppers will be able to take advantage of the late night opening every Thursday in the run up to Christmas. Shops will stay open until 8pm every Thursday.
Sarah Dunn, office manager at Westgate department store, said she hoped the run up to Christmas would see an improvement for all traders in the town.
"Any boost to trade is welcomed and Christmas is always your busiest time," she said.
"Although you don't normally see a difference in the number of shoppers until about two weeks before Christmas.
"We are holding our own at the minute but I know it is difficult for a lot of the independent traders with the business rents and rates that they have to pay.
"We have been helped by the new departments that we have introduced and there is plenty of choice for people."
Scunthorpe's Christmas lights switch-on will be the first in North Lincolnshire, ahead of the Barton switch-on on Saturday, November 24 and the one in Brigg on Friday, November 30.