THE fine summer weather has brought with it a big boost for business, traders are reporting.

Trade leaders in Malvern and Upton say the sunshine has led to an increase in the number of shoppers and tourists flocking to the towns.

Chris Marks, chairman of Great Malvern Association of Traders, said: "Business in Great Malvern has certainly improved for the majority of traders I have spoken to this year.

"The positive news regards the national and regional economy has given shoppers that extra bit of confidence in their job security and as such we are seeing customers shopping with our retailers and visiting our local cafés and restaurants with greater regularity."

He believes efforts of local traders and town officials to make Malvern an attractive place to visit are also paying dividends.

"The town looks and feels more appealing to both locals and visitors," he said.

"The flowers and flags the town council have put up this year look fantastic, there has been music or entertainment on most weekends.

"With a host of new businesses opening recently the offering is as good as it has ever been, which means we are attracting more people to visit Great Malvern."

Anna Brook, of independent Belle Vue Terrace store Iapetus, said it has been a "great" year so far.

"It finally feels as though the recovery is starting to make a difference to our local customers, and people are relaxing a little bit again," she said.

"It feels a bit bit as though everyone has loosened the belts a notch and taken a big sigh of relief. Its still a time to be cautious, and many of our suppliers are reporting that there are patches of good trade around the country again but that it isn't everywhere yet - so we feel lucky to be in Malvern."

She believes the return of traffic wardens to Malvern has also had a positive effect.

"While a large part of this is due to economic recovery we also believe the effect of proper enforcement of the onstreet parking in town can be seen in our tills as people are now actually able to 'pop in and shop'."

She said trade has improved to such a degree that her store is now opening on Sundays in response to the increased numbers visiting the town.

In Upton, chairman of Upton Business Association Annette Keyworth also opens her Value for Money store on Sundays. She said trade has been good and that she is hoping other traders will now do the same.

"We’ve been extremely busy and I do know that the other shops have been very busy too," she said. "However we do get a lot of visitors in the town on Sundays but some of the shops are not open and it is an area we need to look at together."

Simon Smith, economic development manager at Malvern Hills District Council, believes the district is faring well.

“I think its acknowledged that events like the Three Counties Show, Blues Festival in Upton, Welland Steam Rally and Great Malvern Food Festival to name a few have had better than ever attendance figures and in part this will be down to the fine weather this summer but it also relates to the quality and value these events provide to visitors to the area," he said.

"We have also seen another increase this year in our website visits which are up 25 per cent on the same period last year and look set to exceed 200,000 visits by the end of the year.”