TRADERS in Worcester city centre are expecting a flurry of people finishing off their Christmas shopping this weekend.

Worcester has already seen a huge number of people visiting the city centre during the last few weeks as Christmas draws nearer and people enjoyed the Victorian Fayre earlier this month.

Four footfall counters across the city centre recorded an increase of 54 per cent between the beginning and end of November.

During the floods, the number fell by 11 per cent compared with the week before, but rose significantly the week after by 65 per cent as people flocked to the Victorian Fayre. This figure then fell by 22 per cent during the first week of December, but still remained high.

In the High Street alone, the footfall was recorded at 174,717 during the last week of November and 149,689 during the first weekend of December.

Adrian Field, manager of Worcester Business Improvement District, which manages the city centre, said: “The cold weather has delayed a few people but we’re expecting a big weekend this weekend.

“We’re pleased with footfall so far, there’s a good atmosphere around town, even the buskers, and car park usage is good.

“From that point of view all is well. The car park offers are working well.”

Mr Field also said that the number of people using Ringo – a scheme which allows people to pay for their car parking in Worcester City Council- run car parks – has gone up by 73 per cent since the scheme was introduced two years ago.

On Wednesday, Worcester MP Robin Walker joined the Worcestershire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on a local shopping trip where he met and discussed current issues with a number of Worcester’s independent retailers.

Mr Walker said: “I was delighted to meet the local FSB members in the centre of Worcester to see how lower car parking charges and a successful Victorian Fair are helping local shops this Christmas. Occupancy in Reindeer Court is the best I have seen it in a long time and it is notable that a number of new enterprises are opening in Worcester’s central shopping area.”