With experts predicting the steepest decline in December’s high street footfall since the recession in 2010, Sheffield has bucked the national trend with an increase in December’s city centre shoppers
The increase in footfall spread across all areas of the city centre with Fargate up three per cent, Division Street up 1.6 per cent, The Moor up 6.6 per cent and the Moor Market up two per cent from December 2017.
Sheffield City Council worked hard to create a magical experience in the city. The impressive Christmas offer included an improved International Christmas Market, festive bars Thor’s Tipi Bar and The Sleigh Bar, brand new illuminations, fairground rides, a huge wheel to take in the sights of the city and Santa’s Grotto.
Sheffield Business Improvement District provided 3D festive illuminations on Barkers Pool and The Moor, the Sheffield Christmas Trail, an interactive trail for families, and Santa’s Post Office, a free immersive experience.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said:
“At a time when the rest of the country is seeing a reduction in people visiting the High Street, it’s very reassuring to see such an impressive increase in Sheffield’s footfall and is a reflection on the standard of our 2018 Christmas attractions.
“Christmas in Sheffield really did have something for everyone, from the unique market stalls and magical illuminations to the children’s rides and welcoming festive bars. The number of shoppers we’ve seen during the Christmas period reflects the diverse and quality offer of Sheffield’s shops, bars and restaurants and we continue to invest in the city centre to make sure we attract more businesses to thrive here and more visitors to enjoy our vibrant city.”
Sheffield city centre welcomed many additions in 2018, with the opening of the National Videogame Museum, an improved Site Gallery and new restaurants as part of The Light complex.
Development is taking place across the city centre with Heart of the City ll, a new food hall underneath the National Videogame Museum at Castle House, further improvements on The Moor, the extension of Grey To Green towards Lady’s Bridge and The Wicker and the Knowledge Gateway scheme between Fitzalan Square and Paternoster Row.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment, said:
“The annual footfall average in Sheffield does mirror the national picture with a slight decrease, but these figures for December demonstrate that things are improving and we are confident that this will continues in 2019.
“Our city centre is undergoing a huge makeover, you only have to look around to see how much development is taking place with Heart of the City ll, Castlegate and The Moor all taking shape.
“We have invested in major projects that will have a significant impact on the growth of our city centre. With new retail, leisure, entertainment and accommodation all on the horizon we will surely see Sheffield city centre thrive in 2019. The year ahead looks very exciting and I can’t wait to see how our city centre is being transformed.”
As well as work to improve the city centre by the council, Sheffield BID delivers additional projects to attract more visitors to the city centre, including the Alive After Five strategy, Dine Sheffield, the city’s foodie fortnight, guides on Sheffield’s thriving independent businesses, and city hosts on the streets.
Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID Manager, said:
“It is fantastic to see that a combination of festive experiences, exciting leisure activities, fantastic food and drink, and retail encouraged more people to visit the city centre during the festive season. This reflects the hard work of a number of organisations and businesses which are determined to make Sheffield a success story when so many towns and cities across the UK are struggling to increase visitor numbers.
“Following the success of Santa’s Post Office in 2017, the immersive festive experience returned in 2018. In addition, the BID has increased our festive offer for families by providing the Sheffield Christmas Trail, a free interactive trail across the city centre.”