Christmas footfall up 17% in Liverpool

Footfall in the retail core of Liverpool city centre was up 17.1% in December 2008 compared to a year earlier, according to the area's Business Improvement District.

Liverpool BID said the figures contrasted with the downward national trend, where a decline of 8% in High Street footfall was found.

The total number of visitors to the city centre was 7,416,299, an increase of 1,082,753 on the previous year. In the Church Street/Whitechapel area there was a 51.8% increase with a total of 2,849,523 visitors recorded.

Boxing Day saw an annual increase of 58.7% and although New Year' s Day saw an decline of 0.2%, this still compared favourably with the national figure which saw a decrease of 9.7%.

Cllr Gary Millar, executive member for enterprise and tourism, said: "These are remarkable figures by any standard. The city is, of course, reaping the benefit of Liverpool One being recently open, but that has to be set against the current recession which has badly affected every city.

"While footfall does not automatically translate into people spending in shops and restaurants- although the retail spend in Liverpool has grown hugely in the last year -it is highly encouraging that we are attracting so many more people back into the city centre. It suggests that we are restoring our position as a regional shopping centre. However, we must continue in our efforts to make the city centre an attractive place to visit and consolidate these figures."

Retail research agency Experian said shopping spend in the city centre for 2008 was £1.99m compared with £1.10m in 2007.

Ged Gibbons, acting chief executive of the BID, said: "2008 was a monumental year for Liverpool, with 15 million additional visitors to the city, and one in four of those visitors first-time visitors to the city. The trick for us all in Liverpool is to attract these visitors back again. Liverpool has shown that it is a quality city, a safe city, and that visitors enjoy the diverse retail offer in a largely pedestrianised shopping environment. The addition of the arena and conference centre and Liverpool One to the traditional retail offer of over 650 businesses in the BID, will stand Liverpool city centre in good stead.

Footfall figures are recorded by BID using special cameras that count pedestrians in Brythen Street, Church Street, Parker Street and Church Street/Whitechapel.

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