TRADERS are issuing a rallying call for people to "shop local" as they target a big pre-Christmas weekend of retail.

Some of the array of independent stores across the Malvern district have seen trade boosted after a challenging year impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

With shoppers still searching for last-minute presents, the next few days see Malvern business bosses hoping to welcome plenty of visitors looking for those special gifts.

Chris Marks, joint owner of Bellevue Terrace-based Iapetus Gallery which won this year's district shop window display competition, said: "In general it's definitely picking up for Christmas.

"It's been relatively busy but it could always be busier. It's back to where we would expect it to be.

"The whole year has been a bit slower because people have got less money to spend.

"But we are being well supported and the town is busy. We would encourage people to come out and support our traders this Christmas.

"We have got a fantastic selection of businesses which we should all be proud of.

"We're not going to break any records this year but then I would be very surprised if we did because of the economic situation."

Councillor Beverley Nielsen, economic development and tourism portfolio holder for Malvern Hills District Council, said: “I hope we’re all able to take full advantage of our wonderful local independent shops in the run-up to Christmas.

"We’re encouraged to hear that some of our traders are seeing strong trade in spite of the cost of living challenges and we hope people will be able to enjoy getting out and about.

“The council has been promoting our Shop Local This Christmas campaign across the district to raise awareness of the wonderful shops on our doorstep and encourage people to support local traders.

"The Visit The Malverns website also has an individual shopping section for each of the town centres showcasing what’s on offer in each one. You can visit

“The campaign includes new Shop Local branding, content developed in collaboration with traders and social media marketing.

"It’s been created in response to traders’ comments following regular meetings with them across the district. So far the paid-for social media campaign has reached 53,090 with 824 engagements.

“We’ve also been supporting events and other promotions, including the Christmas Switch On, Farmers' Markets, the Prize Draw and Shop Great Malvern to Win run by local traders in Great Malvern, as well as promoting free parking – Fridays in Great Malvern and Barnards Green and Saturdays in Upton and Tenbury with one last one coming up!”