BOSSES at Darlington’s Cornmill shopping centre are starting 2013 on a high after welcoming record numbers of visitors in the run-up to Christmas.

A total of 64,000 shoppers visited the centre on the weekend of December 22 and 23 – the highest figure recorded over any weekend since an electronic tracking system was installed in 2001.

Centre manager Susan Young said: “We are pleased to have attracted record visitor numbers the weekend before Christmas as shoppers rushed to buy last minute gifts and finishing touches for their festive celebrations.

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“We’ve been really encouraged by footfall levels during December overall. Many of our retailers have reported strong trading and there’s been a real buzz around the malls.

“We are very optimistic about the year ahead.”

The shopping venue starts 2013 on an upbeat note with more than 95 per cent of retail units occupied.

Among those to open their doors in 2012 were high-fashion retailer BANK and local family firm Jigsaw Puzzles Direct.

Clothes store Bonmarché remained open after being earmarked for closure and Quiz relocated into a 1,700 sq ft unit in the centre, signing a five-year lease for the new store.