WORCESTER shops celebrated a booming end to 2017, with an impressive 59 per cent increase in footfall from November to December.

There was also a year-on-year increase of 17 per cent, bucking national trends that saw high streets losing out to online sales.

Nationally the year-on-year footfall on High Streets was down five per cent on 2016, whereas Worcester’s city centre saw the increase, according to the figures produced by Worcester BID.

Between November and December there was an increase of almost 60 per cent, nearly double the national figure which saw a month-on-month increase of 32 per cent.

This was particularly good, considering there was snow in mid-December that city retailers said caused a severe drop in trade for a few days.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said the success of the Victorian Fayre, as well as the regeneration of the £20 million Cathedral Square, will have made a significant contribution to Worcester punching above its weight, but the MP also raised the efforts of Worcester BID and the decision of the city council to keep down parking charges as factors.

Mr Walker said: “I am delighted to see that Worcester is attracting such large numbers of visitors and that the Christmas season has seen a strong turnout on Worcester’s High Street and around our city centre.

“A thriving city centre is key to a city like ours and keeping a strong mix of independent shops, cafes and restaurants is vitally important to the feel of the city."

Worcester BID manager Phoebe Dawson added: “We know that four out of five transactions continue to be made in store and it is therefore imperative that we work closely with our partners to ensure that Worcester is the destination of choice.

"Our shift to a more digitally focused Christmas marketing campaign provided us with a larger platform from which to showcase our wonderful city and its businesses, reaching over one million potential visitors, tourists and locals."