TRADERS in Burnley are ‘shaping up for a good Christmas’ according to the town’s chamber of trade.

Brian Hobbs, the chamber’s president, said the general feeling coming from businesses in the town centre was ‘very positive’.

And despite footfall in November being down compared to the same month last year, experts are predicting a bumper December.

The opening of the new 12,000 sq ft Next store in Curzon Street last week has given other shops renewed confidence according to Charter Walk Shopping Centre manager Chris Gribben.

Mr Hobbs said members of his group were reporting some very busy trading. He said: “I think the town centre is coping better than we could have reasonably expected given the current economic conditions.

“Of course the stories I am hearing are only anecdotal but everybody seems to be feeling very positive.”

Mr Gribben said that although he was sad that the number of shoppers coming into the town was down by between two and three per cent, that did not represent a failure.

He said: “In terms of national trends, we are probably doing marginally better than average. For vacant shops we are doing very well and bucking the trend.

“Hopefully when we get December’s footfall figures in the New Year they will show an increase.”

He added that attendance for the town’s Christmas lights switch-on event were up by five per cent.

In Blackburn, The Mall, Morrisons, the market, and independent shops have reported larger numbers of shoppers than last year.

Traders in Accrington said they had noticed a slight fall in custom, especially during weekdays, while Clitheroe is ‘bustling’ according to Cliff Cowburn, who runs Cowman’s Famous Sausage Shop in Castle Street.