TRADERS at the Capital’s revamped Christmas Market have expressed concerns that it has become too dominated by alcohol sales and is losing some of its family-focus.
Some stall-holders said they had closed early – ahead of the market’s newly extended 10pm closing time – after finding that no one was buying their goods as the bars got busier later in the evening.
Opinion is split among the traders with several first-time vendors saying they have “no complaints” about how things are shaping up this winter. One of those, Dorothy Black, who runs the Alandas seafood stall in St Andrew Square, said: “It’s brilliant, I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks.”
But some of the returning stall-holders questioned the direction that the market was taking.
The market organisers said it had been busier than ever this year and that the number of bars had only increased in line with the expansion of the festival which has more than tripled in size.
Dayini Feraud, who manages a stall beside the National Gallery selling toys and ornaments, said: “I’ve been coming here for 10 years, and I really feel this year it’s lost its charm. Too many stalls are very ‘samey’, and profits are way down. And there are far too many places selling alcohol – you can see three just from here.
“We also got told at the last minute that we have to open 12 hours a day when it used to be ten. If this is how it’s going to be I don’t know if we’ll be coming back.”
Charlie MacKenzie, 21, of Stockbridge, who runs the Powder stall in St Andrew Square and has been involved in the market for three years, said that on Monday night several traders closed early in protest at the extended hours. He said: “They just want us to stay open because the bars do, but people aren’t shopping at that time. They’ve now decided to review the timings. Organisation-wise it’s all seemed a bit last minute.”
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