Retail sales thrive in Bedford Town against national odds

Despite national predictions of doom and gloom there were rising sales in key quarters of Bedford this Christmas, reports the Love Bedford team.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:06 am
The launch of Christmas in town organised by the Love Bedford team and friends

Unlike other market towns, Bedford still has a cornerstone Marks and Spencer store which topped sales in the region for certain products.

Manager Andy Lightfoot said: “We saw fantastic results in areas that were promoted through Love Bedford social media. For example with The Beauty Advent Calendar we were the fastest clearance store in our region for this product.

“Christmas Food To Order has seen growth on last year and considering we are up against M&S at the Elstow Interchange, which has its own car park, this was a great result.

“Performance over all is broadly better than expected and encouraging going into 2019.”

And the Arcadia sweetshop, which has been in business for more than 100 years in the elegant Edwardian Arcade, reported a bumper trade with people queuing outside the shop to pick up sweet treats.

Christina Rowe Director of the BedfordBID which promotes the town centre on behalf of 500 businesses under the Love Bedford brand said: “Despite an Grinch-like ITV national report, ironically filmed in front of a packed pedestrianised area of Midland Road, our footfall numbers were better than others at this critical time of year for retail businesses.

“We at Love Bedford say the town footfall is down to all year round promotion of free parking, print and radio advertising and our new November/December Love Bedford NOW videos highlighting what’s new, offers and events in the town centre. These videos meant that independents as well as big stores, had access to a far reaching campaign delivered by social media experts Yakety Yak.

“This ‘all for one promotion’ keeps customers coming back to Bedford, it is then up to businesses to make sure they are offering products and services that people are prepared buy with their hard-earned money. It is noticeable that some businesses are more successful than others which is down to individual owners working hard all year round to secure customer loyalty. Shoppers and diners are becoming increasingly demanding and we have to pull together to make the town an attractive environment for people to visit. Otherwise they can just as easily stay at home and order online or indeed go elsewhere.”