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I love Manchester campaign grows in strength

Shoppers are urged to show their support this weekend by visiting the city centre following the riots.

In Manchester, the boarded up windows are a striking visual reminder of the riots, but the fightback is gaining momentum.

A huge glass window at Emporio Armani’s shop in Spinningfields is boarded up. The Office shoe shop is being completely refitted, as is a neighbouring mobile phone shop in St Ann’s Square.

On the corner of Deansgate, Patisserie Valerie, which was looted, is completely re-open. On a busy Thursday afternoon, there was no obvious decline in shoppers.

The I Love MCR campaign is growing with thousands of people liking its Facebook page as council leaders urge shops to cut prices as part of the drive to bolster the city’s economy.

There will be a show of solidarity tomorrow afternoon, as shoppers on Market Street – where a Miss Selfridges shop was looted and set on fire – hold up I love MCR placards. It is hoped hundreds of people will join in.

Officials are urging shoppers to visit the city centre this weekend to show their support following a 20% decline in footfall on Saturday last week.

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of the council, has mooted a series of post-Bank Holiday sales in shops across the city to boost trade.

He also wants restaurants and bars to begin special offers as part of the plan. And he said businesses should consider letting their staff go home early for one day – so they could spend time and money in Manchester.

It is the latest response to the I Love MCR campaign that has united the Greater Manchester region against the rioters and produced a package of measures to boost the local economy. Coronation Street actors have backed the campaign.

In a message to businesses, Sir Howard said: “If you can put on a special offer in your stories, bars and restaurants, it helps get the message out that we are open for business, and will hopefully get people in and get people spending.

“As people say in their thousands that they ‘love MCR’, we also want Manchester to show that the city loves them.”

He praised 1,000 people who turned up to clean up following the looting.

Parking charges for on-street bays during Sundays and evenings will be put on hold until the city recovers.

The entire Metrolink tram network is free this Sunday if famiies download a voucher and parking charges waived at key periods over the next three weeks, in support of the campaign.

A series of events are also planned in the city centre – starting with free dance, street theatre and comedy as part of Platform 4 festival.

Businesses in the Northern Quarter are also in talks to hold a huge street party in coming weeks, following the success of a royal wedding party in April.

All on-street parking in the city centre will be free for the next two Thursdays after 4pm. Car park companies will be waiving charges at multi-storeys in the city centre at various points.

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