More than 100,000 shoppers flock to the Exchange Ilford over Christmas in spite of economic gloom

In spite of the continued economic downturn and the success of the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, shoppers are visiting the Exchange Ilford in droves.

Figures from the centre showed thousands more people went into the shopping centre, in High Road, this year compared to 2011.

Nearly 55,000 shoppers went to the Exchange for last-minute presents on Christmas Eve alone and 52,000 more hit the sales on Boxing Day.

The Christmas Even figure was up five per cent on the same day last year and the centre had almost 12million visitors in 2012 – 2.5 per cent more than the previous year.

Exchange manager Marc Myers said bargain hunters queued from 4am for start of the Next sale on Boxing Day.

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He added: “At 4am there were about 150 people waiting and the shop opened at 6am.

“I’d say at its peak there were about 1,000 people in the queue.

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“The customers we have and the demographic in Ilford respond very well in sales and merchandise that is good value.”

The signs are positive for the Exchange in the face of competition from shopping giant Westfield, which opened its Stratford centre in September 2011.

But Mr Myers said the going is still tough for traders coping with the current economic climate.

He added: “The recession is still going and there has been a huge migration to internet shopping.

“We know that we can’t just have people coming into the centre – we need them to spend money in the shops.”

The “Urban Christmas” was launched this year to attract people to the centre, with dancing, music performances and competitions.

Figures are being compiled for sales in Ilford town centre and are expected later in the year.

Ben Collins, manager of Ilford Business Improvement District, said “anecdotal” evidence was positive but figures from retailers would reveal more.

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