PAUL O'BRIEN: Time to try late-night shopping?
Loathe it or love it, the seafront fairground that pitches up for two weeks every summer brings thousands of extra people into our town centre, so I decided to stay open later last weekend to '˜test the water' for late-night summer shopping.
Keeping the doors open until 8pm on Friday and Saturday evening was a pleasant surprise with a hum of customers coming through the door on a steady basis, and it did indeed get me thinking.
Along the road in Brighton Thursday late-night shopping is a staple offering, with many people heading over there after work to enjoy the city centre – and many will stop for a meal or drink as well.
So the question is – is Worthing ready for a late-night shopping evening during the week?
Certainly during the summer I think we could, and the thousands of people still using the town and promenade in the evening does suggest that there could be a strong case for it.
Could this also boost our night-time economy and bring extra people into the pubs, cafes and restaurants which make up many of our town centre business premises?
With parking in the multi-storeys cheaper in the evening and on-road parking free after 6pm there is certainly a case to try it out.
This, of course, relies on two things – the desire of the national chains to give it a trial and stay open late for a few testers (which us independents can follow on from), and yourselves, the lovely public, coming and using the town centre that given evening.
With the sun not setting until at least 9.30pm we could create a magical town centre with live music on the new bandstand, an evening market upping our retail offering and so much more.
I would be really interested to hear from customer sand shop owners on whether you think this would work.
Who knows, we could have a sunny Worthing late-night shopping event in the future.
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