Boom and gloom at Christmas market

Swindon Advertiser: Gill Harris from Aristone ornaments, who did a good trade at the Christmas Market Gill Harris from Aristone ornaments, who did a good trade at the Christmas Market

MOST traders have been enjoying a steady flow of customers at the town’s relaunched Christmas Market – but business has not been buoyant for everyone.

The chalets offering an array of decorations, gifts and festive treats along Canal Walk have largely been a hit with shoppers this month, with several stallholders recording better than expected sales.

InSwindon reopened the market on December 5, a year after the popular event was unexpectedly cancelled following a street trading ban.

Adam Styles, who runs Styles, a small plant centre near Evesham, was delighted with the number of shoppers who have snapped up his festive wreaths over the past two weeks.

“It’s the first time we’ve done an event like this and it’s been good,” he said.

“I’ve done the farmers’ market at Havelock and the Designer Outlet but people are spending more here than at the farmers’ markets.

“I came without any expectations. It’s a busy area and there is a big footfall so it’s been good for me. I will come back next year.”

Further along the street, Ray Harris, of Chippenham-based Aristone Garden Ornaments, said he had done a lot more business in Swindon than previously.

“It’s been very good for me,” he said. “We’ve had a very good market this time. It’s better than two years ago. I would absolutely consider coming back next year.”

But while many have been kept very busy since December 5, others have not fared as well.

Kevin Shirley, of Classy Bags in Gloucester, said his merchandise had not been as popular as he had hoped: “It’s been okay but not as good as I had expected.

“Business could have been better. People are not spending as much this Christmas and it depends on what you’re selling.”

Another stallholder, who asked not be named, was also unimpressed with “poor footfall” in the town centre.

However, InSwindon Bid manager Rebecca Rowland said she was delighted with the market’s success.

“We only had a couple of months to prepare it and it has been fantastic,” she said. “We had 16 stallholders this year and we are hoping to build it year on year.”

Addressing some traders’ modest sales she added: “We have found that a lot of people have been window shopping up until now but we are expecting this weekend to be the busiest. So we hope that the stallholders who have not done so well so far will do much better this weekend.”

The market ends on Sunday.

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