A RARE glimpse of spring sunshine across the Herald and Gazette area saw business booming for many traders over the weekend.
Bars, restaurants and cafés profited from the warm weather, with town centre managers reporting packed high streets.
The Shoreham Farmers’ Market on Saturday was hailed ‘the best in its history’, with numerous stalls selling-out.
Adur town centre’s co-ordinator David Steadman said: “It was a very successful weekend thanks to the weather.
“Shoreham Farmers’ Market on Saturday was probably the best we have had in the market’s history.
“Lots of traders sold out and that has to have a spin-off for the rest of the businesses in the town.”
Mr Steadman said he anticipated pubs and restaurants would have benefitted from the increased footfall in the town.
He added: “If you have thousands of people coming into the town, they not only shop at the market, they have a meal or eat and drink at local businesses.
“Certainly from my personal experience of the weekend, open air venues offering refreshments were very busy.”
Buckets and spades were selling well in Littlehampton, with the sun ‘just what the doctor ordered’, according to Harbour Park managing director Gary Smart.
He said: “We were selling buckets and spades and crabbing lines and yes, it did put a bit of a strain on us because we are still running on winter staffing levels.
“But we’d much rather have this than the spring last year, when there was snow and ice on the ground. That was a complete killer for trade.”
Nick Carter, manager of the riverside Look & Sea visitor centre, said trade had been up by more than a third on last year.
He said: “For this time of year, we had a record day on Sunday. The world and his wife came down here.”
In Worthing, town centre manager Sharon Clarke said pubs and restaurants were reporting similarly strong trade.
But she noted that while several businesses did well, others struggled as people were ‘more interested in sitting in the sun’ over shopping.
She said: “The weekend saw a 30 per cent increase in footfall on the previous weekend because of the fabulous weather.
“Cafés, bars and restaurants reported booming trade over the weekend but the retailers found that people were more interested in sitting in the sun than shopping and many saw a decline in trade.
“People did not want to miss the opportunity to enjoy the lovely weather.”
Mrs Clarke added that she hoped more sunshine would see shoppers returning to enjoy the town’s retail offer as the year progressed.
She said: “Retailers are hoping that if the weather continues it will encourage people to think about what they need for spring and summer and start purchasing.”
Steyning Bookshop owner Sara Bowers had spin-off trade from Thursday’s World Book Day as well as the sunny weather.
She said warm spring days, rather than searing heat, tended to attract more to the High Street.
“The town looked quite busy to me when we went out to lunch and there seemed to be a lot of visitors all looking very happy and relaxed in the sunshine.
“Steyning’s such an attractive destination for people that bright spring weather usually brings more people into town.
“It’s searing heat that tends to empty the high street in favour of the beach.”