MANY shoppers were left disappointed this year as the Chester Christmas markets closed prematurely.
The stalls have disappeared more than a week before Christmas and some customers argue this is inconvenient as it is the busiest time for seasonal shopping.
Chester council modelled their Christmas markets on the Bath markets, which start towards the end of November and run for two weeks, ending over a week before Christmas.
Lizzie Cuttell, a 22-year-old postgraduate at the University of Chester, said: “The markets would have been my only chance to buy nice, unique Christmas presents. Between university and a part-time job, I only have time to shop in the final week before Christmas. I was so disappointed to see that they had been removed already.”
Oliver Forrester, a salt and spice merchant from Liverpool with a stall at the Christmas markets, agreed with the council’s decision remove them, however, and said: “I’m happy with the closing of the markets, it was crazy busy at the beginning in November, but it had died down lately, so they closed at the perfect time.”
He continued: “Normally, the markets would be busier closer to Christmas, however, last year and this year research showed that the business had slowed down, the customers stopped coming. In my experience, people are more likely to visit Christmas markets when they open at the beginning and a shorter market time would mean a more concentrated flurry of people, more concentrated sales.”
Mr Forrester said: “I would definitely like to participate again next year, but would need assurances from the council first that I would be in a prime location again. This year I was part of the main hustle and bustle. I felt for the stalls placed next to the bar as you had to cross over the road to get to them and for this reason their stalls were not as busy as ours on the main stretch.”