YATE Shopping Centre weathered difficult trading conditions to record healthy footfall figures in December.

The centre has reported similar shopper numbers to the Christmas countdown of 2011, in line with most retail operators across the country.

It also recorded one of its busiest weeks ever, as many customers put off their shopping until the very last week before Christmas.

Centre manager Andrew Lowrey said heavy rainfall for much of December did delay many people’s Christmas shopping.

"The Christmas rush came very late last year and was badly affected by the weather," he said.

"With schools breaking up late and many days of consistent rainfall, shoppers delayed their visits to the last possible moment and this was reflected in the footfall figures for the week prior to Christmas when over 290,000 visited the centre – one of the highest totals for a single week ever."

"Whereas the footfall figure for the period as a whole was similar to 2011, several sectors such as home wear and gifts, health and beauty and fashion all reported healthy year-on-year sales increases."

Mr Lowrey said he was optimistic for trading in 2013 but a new development of four retail units in East Walk will only help attract more shoppers to Yate. The new shops are due to be completed in the spring and national chains Marks and Spencer Simply Food, Costa Coffee and Sports Direct have already signed leases on the buildings.

The move is good news for Yate Shopping Centre which saw the closure of Peacocks, Burtons, Evans and a number of card shops in 2012.

"Last year was a year of major changes for the retail sector with many traditional high street names disappearing," said Mr Lowrey. "There will be more this year but we have to adjust to these changes to ensure the long-term viability of the centre.

"We are in talks with several operators interested in coming to Yate and we’ll have further major announcements about the centre to make later in the year."