KNUTSFORD’S high street shops are urging townspeople to support them in a bid to make the town the place to be.

In the run-up to the Christmas season, some town centre shops have reported a slow November.

But with the Christmas weekend beginning on Friday and many shops opening late, shopkeepers have told the Guardian it’s the perfect reason for townsfolk to buy local.

Sandra Gough, from Zapatos designer shoe shop on Regent Street, said the sales and discounts offered by the big stores in Manchester and Liverpool were affecting the town’s trade.

“We’ve noticed in the past two weeks that we haven’t had as good as November as last year – by a long shot,” she said.

“There’s so many offers in the big shops, like Selfridges and Marks and Spencers, who have been doing 60 per cent off things.

“But the small independents have been trying to hold fire and not get dragged in too early because you lose your margins if you do.

“The Christmas markets are brilliant, and when it was in Regent Street it was much better for us, but we want people to come in the shops even though it is quite a family-orientated evening.”

Janice Hall, who runs Willow on King Street, arrived in Knutsford a year ago, and is celebrating with a party on December 13.

“It’s been quiet for November, and perhaps they have been going to the malls, but hopefully they will come back,” she said.

“But I’m only a year old, so we have nothing to compare it to. We need all the support from the locals we can get, and we sell makes that you can only get in Manchester.”

Julie Matthews, owner of lingerie shop Bare Necessities on King Street, said she would be opening late night on Thursdays from December 6 and on Sundays in a bid to attract local shoppers.

Most of the shops in town will be having Christmas offers, with Zapatos offering 20 per cent off some lines, Wearabout 20 per cent off dresses and Willow 20 per cent off some lines.