TRADE over the Christmas period saw a big boost in the amount of Bristol Pounds (£B) being spent. The currency's directors set a £B20,000 target for the festive period – and say they were "thrilled" when more than £B30,000 was spent in December.

And it seems the campaign helped boost the number of shoppers paying in the alternative currency, as traders in St Nicholas Market said they had noticed a marked increase in people using the local currency.

Katie Brokenshire, who runs Sourdough Café, said the currency had been a big contributor to the business over Christmas.

She said: "The number of people paying in the Bristol Pound seems to have been steadily growing and it was really big in December, although we've noticed that most people use the txt2pay option rather than actually having the notes. We offer a 10 per cent discount to anyone who pays in Bristol Pounds and I take 10 per cent of my wages in them.

"I would say Bristol Pounds bump up our takings each week by around 20 per cent."

Abi Lloyd, who works for Beast Clothing, said the number of shoppers paying with the Bristol Pound was slowly on the up.

She said: "The majority of customers we have are still paying in sterling, but I do think more people are starting to use the Bristol Pound. It's quite nice to see when people do use them. We had an increase of people use them in December and even in January we've had some shoppers use them."

But Nick Hanby, from Aardvark Arts and Crafts, said he thought the rise in people using the Bristol Pound was proportionate.

He said: "We had a huge influx of customers over Christmas and so we did see an increase in people spending Bristol Pounds, but I think it's probably proportionate.

"When you evaluate the figures compared to other months, I think the percentage of people paying in them has been quite steady."

Katie Finnegan-Clarke from the Bristol Pound team said: "I'm very pleased to confirm that we did meet our £B20,000 target. In fact, Bristol smashed our Christmas target by spending £B30,646 in December! We're thrilled."

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