Britain’s most popular retail destinations enjoying stellar summer thanks to families who scrapped foreign holidays
Britain’s most popular retail destinations are enjoying a stellar summer thanks to families who scrapped foreign holiday plans.
The trend for staycations has seen visitor numbers at some shopping centres nearing 2019 levels, bosses said.
Bruce Findlay, retail director at property giant and Bluewater owner Landsec, said the performance of stores within the centres has been further boosted by what he called ‘committed shoppers’ who have returned with a vengeance after a year and a half of interrupted openings.
Stellar sales: The trend for staycations has seen visitor numbers at some shopping centres nearing 2019 levels
He said the White Rose Centre in Leeds had seen visitor numbers rise to ‘within 10 per cent’ of 2019 levels, giving retailers renewed hope.
Shocking footfall figures for July, from analysts Springboard, had shown visitor numbers across the retail sector down 24 per cent compared with the same month in 2019.
But Findlay’s best performing centres – including St David’s in Cardiff, Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth and Trinity in Leeds – have had a strong August.
He said: ‘Now the holiday is on, families are coming for a day out again. We’ve started seeing dedicated shoppers arriving with a real purpose.’
And shoppers arriving to spend, not browse, means sales at some stores are outpacing footfall indicators.
Findlay said the return of university students next month to cities such as Leeds and Manchester would help. But he warned: ‘The big unknown is the autumn and the lead-up to Christmas.
‘A lot of brands have taken significant steps to prepare for September but others are waiting to see what’ll happen. They are saying ‘I can’t guarantee we’ll be open and trading.’ It’s obviously a very nervous situation for some retailers.’