The award-winning Christmas Markets are having a bumper year as locals and visitors flock to the annual attraction.
Manchester’s BID has confirmed the city is bucking the national trend for year-on-year footfall, up 13.4% in November compared to the previous year, while the UK average stalled at 0.8% over the same period.
The first three weekends of the Christmas Markets have seen huge crowds and the barometer of busyness – the speed of how quickly the much-loved collectible festive mugs sell – show how popular the markets have been so far.
During the first 14 days of the markets, nearly 80,000 mugs were sold (45,610 coffee mugs and 33,000 Gluhwein mugs) compared to 60,000 in the same period in 2016.
In past years more than nine million people have visited the Christmas Markets through the six weeks of trading and this year looks on track to break all records.
Complementing the high street to attract customers to independent traders and the high street names in equal measure, the Christmas Markets are an important attraction that keenly support the city’s economy at an important time of the year for retailers.
Christmas in Manchester is worth more than £90m to the local economy and supports thousands of seasonal jobs.
Indeed, Manchester is now officially England’s top rated shopping destination outside London according to market researcher, Colliers.
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s fantastic to see the huge crowds enjoying the Christmas season in Manchester after what has been a turbulent year for the city.
“It is a testament to the quality of our city centre and our Christmas attractions that we continue to see wall to wall people – and the numbers keep growing year on year.
“Thank you to everyone who has chosen Manchester to visit this Christmas time – it really is the Christmas capital of the UK.”
Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council’s executive member for schools, culture and leisure, said: “It’s already been an incredible year for our Christmas Markets and the stats support what we are seeing and what traders are feeding back. It goes without saying that it has been a tough year for the city, but it’s with true Manchester spirit that we have bounced back.”