TILLS have been playing a merry tune in the run up to Christmas at a shopping centre that’s about to reach a major new milestone.

By the end of the year, the number of shoppers at Eagles Meadow in Wrexham is due to break through the three and a half million barrier.

Overall footfall is seven per cent up on last year and over the past few weeks the centre has seen a 17 per cent rise in year on year figures.

One reason behind the increase was the decision to slash car park charges a year ago, with tickets being reduced by between 55% and 38%.

This year stores at the shopping centre took more than 70 extra staff to cope with the seasonal rush.

The largest recruiters were Debenhams and Marks & Spencer who between them hired at least 55 temporary staff, which is an increase on last year for both stores.

Another 16 staff headed for the sales floors at Next and Pandora jewellers.

It’s been so busy during the run-up to Christmas at Pandora, which opened earlier this year, that they’ve had to introduce a queuing system.

Manager Cheryl Jones said: “This is our first Christmas trading in Eagles Meadow and figures are better than expected.

“We have seen customers queuing at the door from 9am and so we have introduced a queuing system to ensure customers aren’t left standing outside in the cold.

“We have also had to bring in extra staff and we have increased our opening times to deal with the rush. Rings are selling well but our Petite Memories locket, which retails at £125, is by far and away our best-selling line. We are waiting on deliveries now to keep up with demand.”

Grainger Games manager Ryan Jones and assistant manager, Darren Holder, say Christmas trade has been excellent.

Ryan said: “We are hitting all our targets. Footfall in Eagles Meadow is massively up which helps and long may that continue.”

“Our best-selling games are without doubt Pokemon Sun and Moon, which retail at £40 for the Sun and £37 for the Moon, and Battlefield One which retails at £45.

“In fact we have had customers coming from as far afield as Prestatyn as they couldn’t find Pokemon Sun and Moon anywhere else in North Wales.”

Karen Clutton, manager of The Entertainer, said: “Traditional toys, such as Lego, Monopoly and the like are still selling well but Hatchimals, What Are You Talking About? and Pie Face Showdown are the three top sellers without any doubt.”

Odeon supervisor, Steve Short says the cinema complex has enjoyed a busier year than expected.

He said: “We have definitely been busier than we thought we would have been which has to be good for Eagles Meadow. We have beaten company targets across all areas with all revenue streams up.”

Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “We’ve had a very busy run up to Christmas so far. It’s been noticeably busier since Black Friday and there are some fantastic offers available in the centre.

“In fact, we’ve had a very positive year in 2016.

“Footfall here has been running at about seven per cent up on last year since January and over the past few weeks that has surged again and we’ve seen our year on year figures up by as much as 17 per cent as we’ve gone from November into December.

“That means we’re on course to break through the three and a half million mark this year.

“There are lots of good offers on at the stores this Christmas and there seem to be more shoppers around as well.”