Chester Renaissance, Chester City Management and Visit Chester and Cheshire have joined forces to help boost the city’s retail economy.

In recent months more than 100 Chester City centre retailers were part of a mystery shop and were assessed on a number of criteria designed by Chester City Management which is part of Chester Renaissance.

The mystery shopping exercise was conducted by StoreCheckers of Altrincham and everything from shop appearance, helpfulness of staff, local knowledge and the over-all shopping experience was scrutinised.

Twelve retailers scored a fabulous 100 per cent mark in all areas and received well deserved recognition and an excellence award at an award ceremony held at the Blossoms Hotel in the city centre.

A further six stores were highly commended after receiving a mark of over 95 per cent.

Chester Renaissance Chief Executive Rita Waters said: “I am proud of our city and its retailers and the way in which partnership working with Visit Chester and Cheshire and Cheshire West and Chester Council, as well as our retailers, is helping to bring success to the city’s retail sector.

“Chester Renaissance was set up to drive momentum and bring added value to efforts to complete and accelerate the economic growth of Chester. We are striving to make Chester a must see European city and the shopping experience we offer is an important part of that vision. I am delighted so many retailers scored highly in the survey.”

She added: “All our retailers are operating in a highly competitive marketplace and they have to constantly ensure that, as a city, we are ready to welcome visitors and shoppers and that, having visited once, they are eager to return.

“Our retailers have been recognised for excellence and we need to promote and support this aim throughout the whole of our city.”

Visit Chester and Cheshire Chief Executive Chris Brown says Chester’s marketing message must be matched by the visitor’s experience.

He said: “We have to set our ambition as being the best and our role is to grow the number of visitors coming to the city. Everyone working within Chester’s retail sector is an ambassador for the city.

“We are committed, working in partnership with Chester Renaissance and Cheshire West and Chester Council, to bring in many more visitors who, having been once, are keen to return.”

Chester City Management Co-coordinator, Stephen Wundke, said: “Each year the standard achieved by Chester shops keeps on getting better and we are hugely proud of all the retailers who each have improved from last year.

“Our thanks go out to those who have received an excellence award for 100 per cent, this is a wonderful way for Chester to show to everyone just how much commitment and time our stores take to ensure residents and visitors get the very best shopping experience when they visit Chester.”