May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Gaw
Friday, March 8, 2013
A TOWN in west Suffolk is top of the shops, according to figures that show the number of visitors to the nation’s high streets.
Business and council leaders have said the results, which show Bury St Edmunds enjoyed a 7.9% rise in the number of February shoppers, points towards a unique mix of independent, national stores and an award-winning market.
Mark Cordell, pictured, chief executive of the town centre business improvement group Bid4 Bury, said the town’s footfall camera had only been installed in November last year but data from the ATCM-Springboard High Street Index was already encouraging.
He added: “The latest figures reflect on February and you can see that we have had 7.9% more people in February than we did in January. Over that four-week period the average for UK cities is 7.6%, so we’re better than that and the average for the east is 7.5%. The average for the country is 6.5%.”
The first readings from the footfall camera, in Abbeygate Street, also suggested that Bury “bucked the trend” even during more challenging times for retail.
Mr Cordell said that even though footfall fell as expected in January, the figures for Bury were 50% better than other regional towns across the UK.
He added: “I think Bury has a very good offer, a mixture of independent and national brands. There are concerns about having more restaurants and coffee houses, but that’s what attracts people into the town.”
Mr Cordell said they were not complacent and were already planning summer events, which they anticipate will boosted by free from 3pm parking on Tuesdays from mid April.
Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Cabinet member for Bury St Edmunds said: “Footfall is just one indicator, but taken alongside the strong interest in town centre premises and car park usage, the figures provides strong evidence of Bury St Edmunds’ resilience.”