Bluewater, the Kent shopping centre, has had a positive start to 2009, with footfall for January 2% ahead of last year.

The news follows record footfall levels for the Christmas period and 2008 as a whole.

Footfall at Bluewater during Christmas was up by 4% compared to 2007 and over six million people visited during November and December.

It was also a record year for total footfall: Bluewater received 27.5 million visitors in 2008, an increase of 5.5% compared to 2007.

Andrew Parkinson, Bluewater's general manager, said: 'Now more than ever, consumers are looking for a greater return not only on how they spend their money, but their time. In essence, consumers want a great day out and Bluewater provides just that.'

Footfall figures are the number of visitors to a centre rather than the actual amount spent while visiting.