CHRISTMAS shoppers are choosing Oldham stores over Manchester outlets and online giants in a bid to boost businesses in the borough battered by successive Covid lockdowns.

Emma Chadwick, the owner of Baytree Flowers and Coffeehouse in Chadderton, which launched its Christmas shop earlier this year after being forced to close over the last festive period due to the pandemic, said Oldham shoppers are actively supporting local businesses.

The shop owner, who has been running the businesses for 13 years but only opened the Chadderton premises two years ago, said: “Everyone is trying to support local businesses this year and it really shows. People really care, that’s what’s coming across and I can’t thank them enough.”

Demilee Morgan, who opened the Waxxy Warehouse store in Shaw earlier this year after launching the online business from her kitchen table in lockdown, said the run-up to Christmas has been busier for the store than expected.

Discussing the need for the shop alongside the website, she said: “Members of the older generation who don’t shop online or have social media like to come into the store and people’s husbands pop in and say, ‘I know my wife comes here, what does she like?’

The mum-of-four added: “People are avoiding busier places like Manchester and shopping here instead.”

Dale Robinson, owner of Blooming Dale’s, located in Tommyfield Market agrees.

He said: “People don’t want to go into Manchester during Covid times so they’re doing their shopping here locally. November is a quieter month for retail, so we need a busy December.”

Sue Taylor, the owner of Cissie Barlow's Traditional Sweet Shop on Market Street, Oldham, which was closed last November due to the Covid lockdown, has also noticed an increase in local support.

She said: “People value local businesses more now. There’s more of community spirit in shopping locally and people often don’t want to go further afield.”

Discussing the threat online shopping poses, she said: “We sell personalised gifts and hampers made to order that you can’t get from generic online stores. We have been trading for 11 years and have customers that come back every Christmas.”

Last week, Oldham Council leader, Cllr Arooj Shah, echoed Sue’s comments saying Oldham’s shops, market stalls and businesses offer “a personal touch you can’t get online”.

She added: “Covid has had a massive impact on high street trade and our local businesses need our support now more than ever.

"As Oldham residents start shopping in the run-up to Christmas, we encourage everyone to shop local."