Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Should the spotlight be on Christmas markets?


From pretzels to schnitzels, washed down with mulled cider or hot chocolate for the kids, Christmas markets mark the start of the season for many across the country. Vendors come together, almost like a community, to trade traditional festive food, arts, crafts, decorations and gifts.

Generally known as cash cows for city councils (which provide resources), Christmas markets are well received by local and national consumers – in this respect, it can be argued that Christmas, and even all year round markets, are a win for all.

Some retailers are bitter towards street market vendors over ambiguous ideas of profits and funding.

An unnamed director of Levnshulme Market – a community-run market which started after Manchester Markets determined that a market in the Stockport area couldn‘t be made profitable – comments:

“It‘s understandable that Councils like Manchester want to build markets to encourage trade, but the Christmas markets don‘t do that. They suck trade away from nearby shops and restaurants, units are so expensive that only established players can afford them and because most of those are from outside of Manchester, very little of that money stays in the local economy.”

The general consensus over recent years however, is that the value of markets increase footfall on the high street and even encourage start up businesses into temporary low-risk, low-cost outlets so that they can build a customer base and funds before making a more permanent move.

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest outdoor Christmas market in Britain and Europe‘s largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria.

Last year, nearly 5m people visited, generating a total spend of around £85m. The consistently high number of people who attend annually is testament to the popularity of the event. Visitors travel from all corners of the country to experience the Market, boosting the city‘s profile.

This year, it will see nearly 200 stalls as the Market returns for the 14th year. Birmingham City Council doesn‘t pay anything towards the Christmas Market, instead, Frankfurt Council pay a flat rate to cover all the costs of the Market, and the Craft Market stall holders pay rent to the Council.

The German Market in Birmingham will run until the 22nd December from 10am – 9pm.