Shoppers and traders in Blackpool have reaped the rewards of prolonged opening hours as Christmas creeps closer, it has been claimed.
The late night shopping season at the Houndshill Shopping Centre started this week, and saw plenty of shoppers on the streets.
Shops stayed open until 9pm and car parking was free to entice bargain-hunters.
And shoppers have backed the initiative.
Nurse Dave John, 23, of Warley Road, North Shore, was shopping with his fiancée Samantha Wright, 25.
He said: “We work shifts so it’s hard to get here after work.
“It’s definitely more festive doing it this way and really nice inside Houndshill.”
Denice Kelly, from Blackpool, was shopping for her niece.
She added: “I work more or less nine to five and if the shops weren’t open at this time I wouldn’t be able to come except on a Saturday and I don’t really want to do that.
“All the shops have got Christmas displays up and people are going round serving mince pies, which puts everyone in a festive spirit.”
Kevin McDonald, 58, of Broderick Avenue, Bispham, was taking advantage of the extra shopping time.
He added: “It’s a lot more convenient and I prefer coming in at this time. There are a lot of sales on that I wanted to take advantage of.”
The resort’s shops were also feeling the benefit.
Gavin Donnelly, assistant manager at HMV, on Bank Hey Street, said: “We have an offer on Playstation Vitas at the moment so people were coming in after work to pick them up.
“It’s a bit miserable outside and people prefer to shop after work.”
A spokeswoman for the Houndshill shopping centre said: “Houndshill is offering free parking from 5pm on a Thursday evening.
“Plus, with the inclusion of our new tenants such as Peacocks, Café Nero and Mr Simms the centre is further able to provide its customers with a new variety of stores this Christmas.”