SHOPS across the borough have started their journey to recovery with a welcomed day of trading after a month of being closed.

High streets were treated to a much-needed boost, as shoppers headed back to their local stores on a day dubbed 'Wild Wednesday'.

Mel Andrews, who runs Sentiments in Horwich with mum Brenda Owen, was happy to see customers back on the street.

She said: "We've had quite a lot of people saying that they're glad that we're back open again which is nice to hear.

"Normally we wouldn't open on a Wednesday, or if we did we'd close at lunchtime because historically Horwich isn't that busy on Wednesdays, but it's been good.

"It's lovely to see some familiar faces and customers back on the streets – we're hoping for a busy few weeks now."

Many popular chains had queues outside their doors on Wednesday morning, with shoppers eager to get back into Primark and Debenhams to see what they had to offer.

Some larger firms had slashed their prices, causing shoppers to flock through their doors.

Although the demand for local firms wasn't quite so large, many business owners are pleased to be able to welcome back their loyal customers.

Angela Stevens, who runs the Ruby Rose Clothing Boutique in Horwich, said: "It's been quite steady today, we've done alright but people have definitely enjoyed coming in.

"Three of our Ruby Rose models have been in today to support us – my loyal girls who appear in our fashion shows.

"It feels a little bit busier on the street, it's like a different place with all the lights twinkling instead of the shuttered shops.

"One of my customers brought me some mince pies, some chutney, and some jam which was lovely. Obviously some customers won't be able to make it out because they're older or more vulnerable which is a shame – it's like a hub in here and we miss chatting with people.

"It'd be awful if all our local businesses closed and moved to online only so it's really important to shop local and look after your independent and family businesses."

The boutique has been closed for the last four weeks, but has still been able to sell stock online.

Although the process isn't the same, and many customers have said they're happier now they can visit the store to be able to experience the merchandise, some shops have not been able to operate at all, or have taken a huge hit by being closed.

Karen Hargreaves, who runs a card stall on Westhoughton Market, missed out on some of the busiest trading days of the year due to lockdown.

She said: "Selling cards has been hit quite badly, November is usually our busiest month.

"Even though Christmas is in December, a lot of people like to have all of their cards bought and sent by now."

"Wednesday's not an official market day, but we're now open six days a week to try make up for lost trade.

"We've got people coming through, Wednesday morning was dead but it' seems to have picked up a little now – I think people went to some of the bigger stores first."

"We'll have to see whether it's working well for people, I think some people just don't know we're open these extra days."