INDEPENDENT businesses across the area celebrated as customers flocked to shops.
Saturday saw heavy footfall in the first weekend in December ahead of Christmas.
And for firms marking Small Business Saturday it made for a welcome boost.
Colin Telford, of Hayling Island Bookshop, in Mengham Road, was handing out free books to youngsters.
He said: ‘It was quite busy, certainly in the morning – it was a busy day.
‘It was great that the council gave three hours of free parking across the whole borough.’ Mr Telford added that recent changes asked for by businesses, including free short-stay parking bays on the island, had improved trade.
Along with encouraging shoppers to come out in force, the day gave independents the chance to speak to MPs about issues facing their firms.
Havant MP Alan Mak toured his constituency meeting traders.
He said: ‘We have fantastic small businesses across the Havant constituency and Small Business Saturday was a great way to recognise their success and community contribution.
‘I enjoyed meeting small business owners in Havant, Hayling and Emsworth, and was delighted at the huge support they get from residents. Let’s keep up our commitment to shopping local all year round.’
We have fantastic small businesses across the Havant constituency, and Small Business Saturday was a great way to recognise their success and community contributionAlan Mak MP
Caroline Collings-Wood is the chair of Portsmouth and South East Hampshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.
She was with Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt as they visited shops across the city.
And she said the top issues raised were need for cheap or free parking and a reduction in business rates.
‘It was a great opportunity to showcase small independent traders,’ she said.