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Leamington's Seven-Day Shopping Experience

The main road through Leamington will be closed in a series of experiments to see if Sunday shopping will take off in the town.

While there have been on-off debates for years about closing The Parade to all traffic, a series of markets and promotional events will see it shut to traffic for the day.

This will allow shoppers the freedom to wander around the town more easily for one day a week.

Leamington is fighting to retain its position as regional shopping centre in the light of massive new developments at Banbury and Solihull, which pose a threat to retailing in the spa town.

And a series of Sunday events is the latest marketing plan, which should be boosted with the main shopping centre joining in - for now at least - to see if seven-day trading will work.

Leamington will aim its advertising at rival towns that already offer Sunday shopping to tempt people to see the unusually quiet main road, but also its busy shops.

The farmers markets, which have been held with varying success at different locations around the town will be sited along The Parade, once a month on Sundays.

The number of businesses open on a Sunday is set to double at the end of this month, with the Royal Priors Centre and Marks and Spencer joining the list from the Bank Holiday weekend. 

House of Fraser and Next have recently joined the other 60 shops who now trade every day.

Ian Coker, Leamington town centre manager said:

"Business in the town understands that if Royal Leamington Spa is to be considered as a serious shopping destination we need to offer our customers Sunday shopping.

"We are fortunate that the town has an increasingly serious shopping offer on Sundays and is therefore able to offer customers the Fashionable Experience seven days of the week.”

A promotional campaign gets underway this week with leaflets, newspaper and banner advertising being produced to highlight the slogan of: The Fashionable Sunday Experience.

Mr Coker said:

"The campaign focuses on the fact that a visit to Royal Leamington Spa is about the Fashionable Experience

“The fine buildings, delicious food, splendid parks and award winning Royal Pump Rooms are important draws which complement the best quality independent shopping in the region.

"We are planning to advertise in Solihull, Banbury, Stratford and Coventry, all of whom operate Sunday shopping. What we have to offer is I believe much more appealing to those people who are looking for more than just a trip to the shops.

“Sunday shopping will be made all the more enjoyable for visitors by the closure of The Parade to traffic allowing the introduction of the popular Warwickshire's Farmers Markets on the fourth Sunday in each month during August, September and October.

“We believe The Parade location, alongside Sunday shopping, will prove not only popular with the customers but profitable for farmers.”

Gerry McManus of Royal Priors Shopping Centre said:

"We will look at the success of Sundays over the first few weeks of this new campaign and make a decision on what we will do about Sunday trading for the whole of 2001.”

And the efforts to promote Sunday shopping will continue until the end of the year.

Leamington will have its Continental Market on Sunday 22 October, its lights switch on to be held on Sunday 19 November, and a Yuletide fair in the final Sundays in the run-up to Christmas.

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 15 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM