Shopping centres record rise in footfall

Two shopping centres in the North West have recorded rises in footfall this year, according to new research.

GVA, which is managing agent of Merseyway shopping centre in Stockport on behalf of owner Stockport Holdings, said footfall had risen by 19% in the first two weeks in September compared to the same period in 2010.

This meant there were about two million more people at the 350,000 sq ft centre compared to last year in terms of footfall which is currently recorded at around 12 million at Merseyway. GVA said that visitor numbers are now back up to 2009 levels.

The latest footfall statistics from GVA also revealed that the resurgence was under way throughout the summer before Primark opened a 47,500 sq ft store in the former Co-Operative premises.

Mark Rawstron, senior director of GVA in Manchester, said: "Merseyway is bucking the national and regional trend. The footfall is recorded by in-built technology in stores at Merseyway and is measured on a percentage change. The current North West average is a 3% fall.

"In the week Primark opened there was a 50,000 increase in visitors in terms of footfall at Merseyway. It was not all down to Primark but from when it opened there has been uplift.

"Retail is facing difficult and well-documented challenges but it's pleasing and encouraging to note that the Merseyway figures are above the national and the regional averages. We now look forward to a busy autumn and Christmas period."

Meanwhile, customer footfall and sales for Manchester Arndale for the first half of the year are both up on the previous year's like-for-like figures.

Capital Shopping Centres owns the Arndale in Manchester city centre through a joint venture with Prudential and is managed by Prupim.

According to analysts Experian Footfall, Manchester Arndale is currently recording footfall at around 18.9 million which is up +6.8%, meaning a further 1.2 million people have visited the shopping centre during January to July this year.
During the week of the Manchester riots on 9 August, research showed footfall decreased by around 10% with the centre recording a reduction of around 40% in terms of customers and sales.

However, in the following three weeks, during which the 'I love MCR' campaign ran, the centre recorded 2.3 million people in terms of footfall. The third week recorded an increase of +12.6% in footfall year-on-year hitting around 812,000 in terms of people passing through the shopping centre.

Sales are up +7.3% across all sectors at Manchester Arndale, with the best performing areas including mobile phones and electrical goods up +77.6%; health and beauty +34%; menswear +8.5% and the Foodcourt showing a +7% increase in fast-food sales.

Sue Anderson-Brown, interim general manager for Manchester Arndale, said: "These are a very strong set of first half-year results for Manchester Arndale and in particular the record-breaking footfall figures in August demonstrate how successful the 'I love MCR' campaign has been for the city and is testament to the public support shown following the national disturbances. To have already exceeded last year's October half-term week, being the largest footfall week outside of Christmas, is a very big achievement."

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