THE number of lastminute Christmas shoppers in the Port Arcades topped 106,000, an increase of nearly 5%.

The final figures for customers coming through the doors of the Ellesmere Port shopping centre have now been released.

And they show that, despite reports of economic doom and gloom sweeping the country, the Port Arcades had a very successful Christmas period with more customers than in previous years.

Two weeks ago, the Pioneer exclusively revealed that centre manager Les Lyon was confident they’d had at least one million visitors since they first put their Christmas decorations up in mid-November.

His confidence was well-placed. The final figures show they actually received a total of 1,021,603 visitors from the day the decorations went up to when the last store closed at 6pm on Christmas Eve.

And in the last three days before Christmas, the centre saw 106,110 shoppers come through the doors, which is an increase of 4.86% on the same period in 2007.

Mr Lyon thinks that most of this success can be attributed to the value that the shops in the Port Arcades have to offer.

In the current climate shoppers are using as little of their incomes as they can.

However, when consumers do spend, they like to have value for their money so will go to a shopping centre like the Port Arcades where they know they can get more for their hard-earned cash.

He added: “We would like to say a big thank you to all of our visitors in 2008.

“These figures show the continuing popularity of the Port Arcades with the shoppers of Ellesmere Port town centre.

“I hope that we can continue to offer a welcoming shopping experience throughout 2009 and beyond.

“Why not check out what the Port Arcades has to offer in its sales this January? With a wide variety of shops, you’ll surely be able to nab a great bargain.”