Buses and bargains help bring in Boxing Day crowds for Airedale Shopping Centre

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Extra bus services have helped to make it one of the busiest Boxing Day sales ever at Keighley’s Airedale Shopping Centre.

Bargain hunters took advantage of the  special services as well as free parking to head to  the busy mall to hit the sales.

It comes as the centre has celebrated another busy Christmas, with footfall up by nine percent from its usually monthly figure of 390,000 shoppers, with sales topping £243 million across the year.

Airedale Centre Steve Seymour was at work at 4am today ((Dec 26, Boxing Day)) ready for when Next  opened its doors to sales shoppers an hour later.

He said: “It’s been a very busy Boxing Day, with queues forming before I arrived to snap up the sales bargains, though everybody has been very good natured and well behaved.

“Obviously the early visitors came by car but later in the morning, when all the stores were open, we could see that a large number of shoppers were arriving by bus. The fact that the bus station facilities were also open has certainly helped.

“We have seen a 16% increase in footfall since 2012 on Boxing Day and with the new tenants and improved offer we expect see more visitors again this year.

“On a normal Sunday we would expect around 12,000 shoppers, but  today ((Boxing Day)) I think we are looking like it is double that, to more than 25,000 shoppers.

“The bus services has also meant that many of our store staff have been able to get into work, as not all of them drive.”

Shoppers in the Airedale Centre, Keighley,

Shoppers in the Airedale Centre, Keighley,

Dozens of extra staff were taken on by stores to deal with the Christmas rush, through to the Boxing Day and New Year sales.

With perfume being an enduring favourite Christmas gift, staff at The Fragrance Shop experienced a hectic sales surge in the run up to Christmas.

Airedale branch manager Ann Worsley, said: “Everybody wants to buy fragrances at Christmas and it’s always our busiest time of the year, along with birthdays and other celebrations.

“We have had some great offers on, which really helped to draw people in and now we have started our sales ((on Boxing Day)) we just have to keep our fingers crossed that it continues.”

Manager of JD Sports, Hissa Bibi, agreed with Ann saying: “Christmas  is our busiest time of the year and things have gone well.

“Footwear in particular sold fast, with men’s Huarache trainers by Nike doing really well.”

At Boots assistant manager Mark Jowett was run off his feet as the countdown to  Christmas got underway.

He said: “I certainly haven’t got much time to myself, but that’s got to be a good thing and the sales have been very good so far.

“Our seasonal selection is what went really fast – all the gifts that are on our three for the price of two mix and match offer – those lines flew off the shelves.

“Now it’s  Boxing Day they are all be down to half price so we know that will be huge as well. We’re expecting it to be a very, very busy time with the sales.”

Airedale Shopping Centre is home to more than 80 stores, from fashion, health and beauty to services and food and drink, and has more than 425 parking spaces. More details on festive opening times at www.airedaleshoppingcentre.co.uk

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