Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Centre is looking forward “with confidence” to a positive 2018 after bucking a national retail trend and increasing footfall by nearly five per cent during 2017.

Home to more than 60 stores, the town’s largest shopping centre reported positive trading across all sectors, with Perfume Shop, Topshop, H Samuel, Toytown and ShoeZone all reporting that trading was up.

The opening of a new luxury retail store by Flannels, together with high street giant Sports Direct and clothing retailer USC, combined with the hotel expansion of the neighbouring Holiday Inn Express further boosted figures.

The festive season was also a huge success with Cleveland Centre welcoming more than one million visitors through its doors during December including around 500,000 in the final seven days before Christmas.

Centre manager Graeme Skillen said: “It’s well documented that these are challenging times for town centre retailers, with shopping centre football down by nearly three per cent across the country.

“So for us to increase Cleveland Centre football by 4.7% was absolutely against that national trend and a fantastic achievement for everyone involved in the centre.

“We worked hard to live by our slogan of being ‘The Centre of the community’, carrying out a series of marketing and community activities to support the range of fantastic store we have under our roof.

“Now we’re looking forward with confidence to further successes in 2018 – and we’re hopeful of attracting more big-name brands over the course of the next 12 months.”

High street brands with stores within Cleveland Centre include WH Smith, Disney, Boots, Topshop, HMV, New Look, JD Sports, H&M, The Carphone Warehouse, Costa, Vision Express, Vodafone, Virgin Media, Stormfront, Starbucks, Timpson, Lush, 02, Deichmann, Foot Locker, H. Samuel, Iceland, Poundland, Zenerjii and Poundworld.

They are complimented by local brands including Psyche2, Yorkshire Linen, Cupeno Coffee, Bubbles, Toytown and Glamour Forever.