WITH Christmas approaching, shops in Leigh and surrounding town centres are hoping residents will offer their support and do their festive shopping with them.

An increase in online retail shopping over the years has put pressure on businesses to maintain sales and secure jobs for their employees.

Spinning Gate Shopping Centre, which is sparkling with seasonal decorations, is urging people to "explore what Leigh has to offer this Christmas".

Manager Karen Cox said: "You will find Christmas all wrapped up in Leigh.

"The town centre has a wide choice of gift ideas, party wear, decorations and much more.

"Support your local town and explore what Leigh has to offer this Christmas.

"The town centre offers lots of national and independent stores providing shoppers with a wide selection of choice from fashion, food, restaurants and cafes to cards and gifts.

"The town relies on your support so let's love Leigh and enjoy what the town has to offer."

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Wigan Council is also offering support to Leigh town centre after the re-introduction of free parking on Thursday, November 14 on weekdays after 3pm at local authority-owned car parks during the Christmas period.

This is in addition to free parking at council car parks at weekends to give people an incentive to visit the town centre.

Director of economy and skills at Wigan Council, Becca Heron, added: “Free parking gives shoppers the perfect opportunity to visit the town's top high street names, independent shops as well as its popular market."

Spinning Gate Shopping Centre also has an action-packed free family festive programme with free Santa visits taking place from Thursdays to Sundays in December from 12.30pm to 4.30pm.