A SHOPPING arcade is inviting shoppers to pay it a late-night visit every Thursday until Christmas.

Market Hall Shops, opposite the Post Office in Front Street, Chester-le-Street, is usually open weekdays from 9am-5pm but staying open until 8pm for the next three Thursdays.

The whole centre will have a festive atmosphere and Kath’s Occasion’s café will be serving evening meals with special late-night offers from many of the centre’s independent retailers.

Operated by InShops until 2014, the Market Hall has seen investment and improvements this year under the new ownership of local property management firm Cestrian Estates.

Shop units and communal areas have been spruced up, new illuminated planters have made a sparkly impression on Front Street, and free wi-fi has been installed.

Cestrian Estates brought in North-East retail and marketing expert Graham Soult to help promote and improve the Market Hall, and the centre’s new social media presence at @MarketHallCleS is already winning over fans on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Mr Soult said: “Offering everything from sweets to haberdashery and handmade gifts to healthy dog food, the independent retailers at Market Hall Shops are a really fantastic asset to Chester-le-Street.

“They make the town’s retail offer more interesting and distinctive, and, by supporting them, customers help to keep jobs and money in the local economy.

“Everyone is very proud of the improvements to the Market Hall this year, especially all the Christmas decorations.”