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Shoppers in Shrewsbury bucking the trend as numbers rise

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Business | Published:

Shrewsbury is bucking the national trend of a drop in town centre footfall, according to new figures revealed today.

Shoppers in Shrewsbury

National figures show a national decline for the 10th straight year, but Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID) said the town was bucking that trend and footfall figures for 2018 were actually up on the previous year.

The total number of visits clocked by two town centre counters increased by 0.7 per cent. And in December just over 1.2 million movements were recorded, equating to an 8.8 per cent rise from 2017.

The number of visitors to Shrewsbury’s main shopping centres in December was also higher than in December 2017, with footfall in the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside centres rising by 5.35 per cent and 2.13 per cent respectively.

The footfall figures come after a Government commissioned report was released on the health of the nation’s town centres and giving recommendations on the way ahead - with Shrewsbury chosen as one of just six evidence gathering locations across the country.

Shropshire Star comment:

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said the figures reflected particularly well on Shrewsbury when compared to the West Midlands and nationally.

He said: “Footfall in town centres across the West Midlands fell by 1.9 per cent, and comparable market towns, as measured by Springboard, fell by 2.5 per cent, so for Shrewsbury to have an annual 0.7 per cent increase, and a rise of 8.8 per cent in December, is fantastic.

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“It’s important to recognise the brilliant efforts of Shrewsbury businesses in attracting a substantial increase of visitors to the town centre over the Christmas period in what are undoubtedly challenging times for the High Street across the country.”

One independent Shrewsbury retailer reported an overall increase of 7.5 per cent in turnover during November and December compared to the previous year, and an increase of seven per cent for 2018 as a whole compared to 2017.

Tina Boyle, BID director and owner of Acoustic Boutique, said: "We have had a lot of customers saying they like to buy local and do so whenever they can because they like the service they get, particularly from the range of independent businesses, and they want to support the high street.

“We have also seen a lot of customers from other towns visiting Shrewsbury because of the diverse offering of shops and restaurants."

Mr Slater added: “We welcome the High Street Report and it was great to see Shrewsbury take a leading role in the study, being one of the very few places nationally to host an evidence session, and with both Councils as part of the Big Town Plan Partnership we’ll be looking closely at the recommendations and funding opportunities available for Shrewsbury.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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