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Colchester stores to trade longer on Wednesdays from September
COLCHESTER’S big stores will start opening for longer in two weeks – to help them make up for a slow summer they blamed on poor weather and the Olympics.
The town centre’s major retailers have all agreed to stay open until 7pm on Wednesdays from September 12.
The move comes ahead of a run of five pre-Christmas late-night shopping evenings when shops will open until 9pm.
Williams & Griffin’s High Street department store is among those joining in.
Its sales and marketing director, Lorraine Barnett, said: “The Olympics and the poor summer has made it a difficult trading period for everyone.
“We had been talking about starting late-night trading in the summer, but decided to start on September 12 and run into Christmas.
“It will give people who work in the town the chance to go shopping after they finish.”
Ms Barnett said the big stores had been talking to Colchester Retail/Business Association to encourage the smaller shops to follow suit.
Nearly all the shops in the Culver Square, including H&M, Republic, Superdry and Debenhams, are likely to take part in the late Wednesday sessions, and it is hopes retailers in Lion Walk shopping centre will take part too.
Culver Square manager Derek Ashbee said: “We have quite a few well-known multinational companies, which are keen to promote late-night shopping.
“We hope the big names will attract people into Colchester.
“We want to get late-night shopping fully established for what is going to be a testing Christmas period.
“It has been a tough year, which is all the more reason for retailers to grasp the nettle.”
Shops stayed open later for a time last autumn, but the initiative fizzled out in March.
Paul Bentham, Lion Walk centre manager, said he hoped the later hours would work this time around.
He said: “Boots is planning to stay open late on Wednesdays and BHS may do, too.
“I think some of the other stores will watch and see if it is worth their while.
“I hope it will work. Retail needs a boost and if we don’t try we will never know.”