Wellington retailers are asking the town council for the earliest ever switch–on of the Christmas Lights. A planned date of November 19th will give the shopkeepers five weeks of trading before the holiday – and they say they need it.
“From a financial point of view it makes a huge difference to us,” Sally Hooper of Mad Dog clothing in South St told a joint council-trader meeting this week. “Last year we only had three Saturdays pre-Christmas after the lights went on and our takings were significantly down on the previous year.”
“Most retailers do the majority of their turnover in the fourth quarter of the year so we need sustained build up from early November to bring people into the town,” said Sean Cooper, partner in The Emporium Somerset.
As well as the lights themselves – which cost the council £12,000 to service, put up and store, town clerk Greg Dyke told the meeting – retailers discussed bringing live music into the town as well as a one-day even similar to the Street Fair in July organised by the carnival committee.
Traders agreed to hold further talks about what events to create in December and how best to get the word out to the public. Wellington Business Association agreed to coordinate and manage a publicity campaign for the group, with logistical and financial help form Taunton Deane’s economic development unit.