CHRISTMAS shoppers stayed loyal in 2013, Yate Shopping Centre has reported with rare increases in footfall in November and December.

The centre, which has more than 100 shops including a Tesco Extra supermarket, has recorded annual increases in the number of people visiting of nearly six per cent in November and over five per cent in December.

The rise comes after Marks and Spencer opened a Simply Food store in the centre in June and Costa Coffee, Sports Direct and Peacocks all opened stores nearby in the new East Walk development this year.

Yate Shopping Centre manager Andrew Lowrey said the management team were thrilled with ‘excellent’ Christmas figures.

“It’s good to be able to report excellent trading figures for the Christmas period especially as there seems to be a mixed bag of results being reported by national operators and other centres,” he said.

Last week in which Tesco, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer all announced year-on-year profit losses for the pre-Christmas period.

Yate’s line-up of Christmas entertainment, including a Santa’s grotto, parade and lights switch on with a host of X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent singers, helped attract more people to the centre.

Mr Lowrey said the centre was planning to build on the success with new store openings this year. He said: “In the year ahead we will be looking to build on this success and already Anytime Fitness has opened its doors for trading in the former nightclub on East Walk. We are hoping to have Bottelinos open by early spring, enhancing the centre’s northern frontage.”

A planning application for a six-screen cinema and new restaurants and retail units on land next to the overflow car park on Link Road is due to be decided by South Gloucestershire Council shortly. If approved, work on the £12million development will get underway this year.

“Obviously 2014 is going to be an important year for the centre as we hope to make real progress on the cinema development,” added Mr Lowrey. “We anticipate the planning application will go before a planning committee by Easter but it’s important that people who support these proposals ensure their comments are submitted to South Gloucestershire Council as soon as possible.

“We are also talking to several potential new national tenants as a result of last year’s marketing campaigns and the exposure and success Yate Shopping Centre enjoyed and received as a finalist at the British Council of Shopping Centres, Gold Awards 2013.

“These awards recognised the changes that have been put in place by the owners over recent years to expand and enhance the retailing experience. By attracting these new tenants we will be continuing to address and fill the gaps in the centre’s existing offer. They would occupy the proposed new retail units adjoining the cinema or could move into any reconfigured units within the existing centre.”