THE number of shoppers using Hereford's Maylord Shopping Centre is continuing to increase - especially on a Saturday, new figures have revealed.

The total number of people visiting the centre during the months of March, April and May has shown a significant improvement on last year, despite the foot and mouth crisis.

Centre bosses analysed a 13-week trading period and found that weekly footfall was up by almost half a per cent on the same time last year. On Saturdays, the figure was more than 1.5 per cent ahead.

Centre manager Rachel Manford said: "This is a particularly creditable achievement, given that the foot and mouth crisis overlaps much of the period under analysis.

"On three of the weeks in question, footfall was more than 25 per cent ahead of the equivalent period last year, which is particularly pleasing."

Rachel said it appeared that a series of exhibitions and competitions at the centre over the past three months had helped to boost the figures, including a special push over Easter.

"As a result of the number of stores who were keen to open on Easter Monday this year, we decided to organise a high profile advertising programme, which has certainly paid off.

"We also had a particularly good day when Next held its one-day sale, and other events during the period included activities for Comic Relief and Easter events such as our bunnies and chocolates giveaway and decorated egg stalls."