VOTE: Will late-night opening give a big boost to trade in Midhurst?

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Traders in Midhurst’s West Street have banded together in a bid to fight the difficult economic climate and attract more shoppers.

They have been trying out late-night opening evenings and announced this week they are planning to open for two hours’ evening trading every month until Christmas.

Spokesman for the independent traders, Ruth Hicks of Truffle in West Street, said: “Earlier this year the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed retail guru Mary Portas to provide support and advice on how to revive local high-street shopping areas that were diminishing in favour of the larger shopping centres and cities.

“Local businesses, local authorities and shoppers are being encouraged to develop initiatives to support their local businesses.”

She said the late-night trading on the last Thursday of each month up to the end of the year – including the busy Christmas shopping season – was West Street’s answer to the call for local initiatives to kickstart trade. “The traders feel this is an opportunity to not only provide additional retailing times to their customers, but also to highlight the independent and specialist retailers the street has become known for, but which still remains a hidden gem of the town.”

The late-night shopping evenings will be from 6pm-8pm tonight, September 29, October 27, November 24, December 9 (to coincide with the town council’s annual Christmas party) and on December 15 and 22 in the lead-up to Christmas.

As an incentive, traders are planning to introduce offers which may not always be available during normal trading hours. West Street traders have been buoyed by the support of the Cowdray Estate and the Spread Eagle Hotel which have offered their assistance by displaying the dates of the events. Details can also be found at the library and the Grange and North Street car park notice boards.

The majority of retailers in West Street including Truffle, Black Sheep, KissChaseKids, Jefferson and the Real Flower Company, expect to trade on all evenings, but shoppers should check with others.