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33 CHRISTMAS


Lighting up Christmas


Since the start of the New Year, MK Illumination has been busy taking down festive displays in centres across the country. But like many in the industry it’s already planning for Christmas 2013.


T www.shopping-centre.co.uk


he man in the street could be forgiven for thinking that there is only a limited two-month window of opportunity for companies operating in this niche


sector. But according to MK Illumination’s sales director, Paul Dove, the work never stops from one year to the next. He says: “After we dismantle the schemes


at the start of the New Year we start tendering for council and shopping centre contracts for the following festive season. We then have the rest of the year to design, develop and manufacture each display ready for installation in October through to December. It’s a continuous cycle.” According to Dove, the festive lighting


industry is currently undergoing something of


a renaissance. Like most industries it felt the full impact of the recent economic downturn, but has recovered and emerged as a stronger industry as a result. This is because decorative displays are now being valued as an essential marketing tool to attract customers during the peak retail period of the year and not installed solely to show that it’s Christmas. “We have seen a definite shift in recent


years in the way festive lighting is now perceived,” says Dove. “As expected, the recession forced shopping centres to evaluate their spending on Christmas lights. We saw some schemes delayed and others downsized slightly but rather than cutting their festive lighting budget altogether, most decision-makers recognised that festive


FEBRUARY 2013 SHOPPING CENTRE


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