12 February 2015



SUNDERLAND retailers who are helping to boost the city’s night time economy have received a civic thank you.

A major initiative is currently underway to bring visitors into the city centre after the normal working day, centred around the new late night shopping event on Thursdays.

And to recognise the part retailers have been playing in staying open until 8pm on Thursday nights, they were invited to the Mayor’s Parlour for a civic reception.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse met Ken Dunbar, the Chief Executive of the Business Improvement District (BID) and many of the retailers.

Sunderland BID is the driving force behind the late night events, which includes a weekly programme of entertainment as an added incentive to bring people into the city.

Late night Thursdays were developed as a result of the success of late night shopping in the run-up to Christmas, where around 30,000 people came into Sunderland to enjoy the programme of entertainment, in addition to the crowds of shoppers.

The extended hours, which are also backed by a free parking scheme at both the Bridges and council-owned car parks until 9pm on Thursdays, has also grown out of  the successful festive Free after 3 scheme.

The Mayor, Cllr Porthouse said: "I just wanted to say a big 'thank you' to our city centre retailers and our partners in  the Business Improvement District, for helping the city council to create such an exciting shopping experience for families visiting Sunderland over the festive period. Working together we can provide people with the choice, facilities and shopping environment which will encourage even more to see the city as their main shopping destination.”

Ken Dunbar said he was “delighted” by the way “that retailers had responded to the new Thursday evening initiative.”

“We are very pleased that so many businesses have got behind this scheme and realise the long-term benefits to the city,” he said.

“We are also very grateful to the Mayor for recognising the important part the retailers are playing in helping Sunderland’s evening economy and for inviting us to celebrate with him.”