17 MK Download '17' on iTunes
Two years after NE1 Ltd launched the 'Alive After Five' scheme in Newcastle, there's been an estimated £157 million boost to the local economy.
On the 25th of October 2010 shops in Newcastle started staying open until 8pm weekdays and 7pm on Saturdays.
Free car parking was also introduced after 5pm in all council run multi storeys.
The changes to retail opening hours were the most significant since Sunday trading was introduced in the early 90s.
Since the launch, the value of Alive after Five has been estimated at 157 million and has helped attract over 2 million extra visitors to Eldon Square after 5pm.
The Alive after Five hours now account for 16.8% of the day's footfall, with footfall on Northumberland Street up by 5.5% year on year in contrast to the national average downturn of -3%.
The initiative is unique in the UK due to the package of support that was devised to accompany the extended retail opening.
In addition to the extended retail opening hours, Alive after Five is supported by free car parking after 5pm Monday to Saturday in the 7 council owned multi-storeys - which provides thousands of free car parking spaces in the city, together with offers and meal deals in bars and restaurants.
Another major factor that has contributed to the success of Alive after Five is the support from bars and restaurants offering menu deals for early evening customers.
A whole raft of Alive after Five deals are now available across a number of city centre bars and restaurants.
NE1 continues to support Alive after Five with initiatives like NE1's Restaurant Week, which is designed to increase footfall into city centre restaurants at traditionally quieter times in the year - mid-January and August.
Stephen Patterson, Head of Marketing and Communications at NE1 Ltd said;
"Alive after Five is about more than extended retail opening hours, it's about transforming the city into a vibrant, European city, making more of the early evening economy and allowing Newcastle to compete on a level playing field with other UK, European and international cities in the battle to attract students, job seekers and major employers into the area.
Infusing new life into the city between 5pm - 8pm, historically a period when Newcastle shut up shop, all helps to make Newcastle a more attractive proposition for anyone making a choice of where to study, live, work or invest."