BUSINESS boomed in Bolton during this year’s food and drink festival, with key retailers saying they saw a boost in shoppers thanks to the event.

As well as visitors spending at the 130 food and drink stalls dotted through the streets, shoppers were attracted into the main shopping centres in the town.

Market Place manager Nikki Wilson-Cook said footfall was up 10 per cent compared with the same time last year — the equivalent of an extra 6,400 people visiting the centre.

She added: “It was Market Place’s first year as one of the main sponsors, and that has certainly been beneficial.

“We had one of the regional chefs’ tents outside and there was lots of entertainment going on in the centre.

“As a centre we tried hard to attract people but my view is that it’s all about the town, and the fact that it’s such a big event for Bolton.

“I was delighted that the council did so much to make the festival such a success, and we worked in partnership with them for that. It’s paid off.”

Malcolm Angus, manager of Crompton Place, said while it was too early to know the official footfall figures, the centre was busy throughout the whole Bank Holiday weekend.

He added: “We are always pleased to play our part in events such as the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, which create a wonderful atmosphere in the town and provide first-class entertainment for the community to enjoy.

“It also helps bring more people into Bolton, which is vital to our local economy and it also allows us to showcase everything this great town has to offer.

“We hosted the ever-popular kids zone, which was back for the second year running and was packed full of a range of different activities, including puppet shows, arts and crafts and biscuit decorating.”

Manager of Thomas Cook in Crompton Place Gill Hurst said they had a “really, really busy” weekend.

She added: “Events like this create a buzz and it is all about people spending quality, family time together.

“What we noticed is that we had a good weekend on family holiday bookings for summer 2015.”

Sales at clothes store Blue Inc were up 25 per cent on Sunday compared with a normal day.

Manager Sarah Gradwell said: “It was Sunday when we really noticed the difference, which can be a quieter trading day for us traditionally.

“Our sales were up by 25 per cent when compared with a normal Sunday and so the festival definitely helped get sales through the till for us which is always a good thing.”