Big name retailers finished last year on a high, according to figures released by Ashford's largest shopping centres.
County Square (CQ) in the High Street and the Ashford Designer Outlet (ADO) in Kimberley Way have both reported strong footfall over Christmas and into the new year.
Despite a tough year, with overall visitors slightly down year-on-year at CQ, visitor numbers were up on last year over the festive period.
County Square shopping centre
A spokesman for CQ said: “We had 5,001,543 people through our doors in 2013 which was slightly down, by 2.3% on 2012, but we were very pleased with these figures.
“The last week of December was up by 6% on 2012, with 111,500 people visiting County Square.
“On Boxing Day we opened our doors at 5am to allow for the crowds to come in and wait for the Next Sale which was starting at 6am!
ADO has reported a record-breaking start to 2014.
Post-boxing day sales rose 18% in the week December 26 to January 2, compared to the same period the previous year, with over 70,000 shoppers during that week.
An overall increase in like-for-like sales of 14% was reported from October to December 2013, compared that period in 2012.
And footfall at the centre was up 6% during the same period, compared to the previous year.
Centre manager David Maddison (pictured above) said: “Our strong Christmas trading results yet again highlights that a visit to McArthurGlen’s Ashford Designer Outlet continues to be an increasingly popular way to shop.
“Year-round savings of up to 60 per cent on the most sought-after luxury, designer and lifestyle brands in a premium shopping environment makes the centre irresistible to those living in the Kent area or crossing the Channel from Europe.”
The traditional ‘man dash’ in the run-up to Christmas helped drive particularly strong sales in the popular gift choices of perfume and cosmetics, which were up by 27%.
International shoppers also contributed to strong Christmas trading with tax free spend up 35% year on year.