Coventry city centre has bucked the national retail trend after statistics show there was an almost eight per cent increase in footfall in the run up to Christmas.
While many city centres were struggling to attract footfall due in part to the rise of internet shopping, improvement in the city centre and the arrival of many national retail and leisure names saw Coventry record a buoyant festive period.
In the week commencing December 17 in 2018, a total of 369,453 people were recorded as visiting the city centre – a rise of 26,959 compared to the same week a year ago
And shoppers left it late with 50,000 more shoppers heading into the heart of the city compared with the previous week.
The development of Cathedral Lanes into a restaurant quarter has attracted big brand names such as The Botanist, Bistrot Pierre and Zizzi into the city and that proved a big draw.
Now the organisation that runs the city centre is hoping to build on that success as new developments – including the Upper Precinct and the multi-million City Centre South – get underway.
Trish Willetts, director of Coventry Business Improvement District (BID), said the rise in footfall was down to a number of factors including the rising profile of the city.
“These footfall figures in the lead up to the holidays are very positive and now we need to keep up this momentum,” said Trish.
“Coventry has a very exciting future ahead of it with the likes of City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in 2022, so now is the time to lay the foundations.
“I would like to thank all the businesses for their hard work over the past few weeks and to everyone that has supported the BID and all of its festive initiatives.
“Since the BID was voted back in for another five-year term last January, we have been working hard to push the city centre and that will continue in 2019.
“We have a number of campaigns planned for this year, as well as some exciting events coming up to keep people coming back including Coventry’s Food and Drink Festival.
“Now we have to all work together to capitalise on this positive news and keep the city centre moving forward.
“We think we have helped create a real buzz about the city centre and while there is plenty more to do, this shows that we are heading the right direction.”