Lancaster shops welcome Primark effect sales boost

Linda Thomas and Raegan Whitehead
Linda Thomas and Raegan Whitehead
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Shopkeepers in Lancaster have seen a boost in sales following the opening of Primark in the city last month.

Business owners in Marketgate Shopping Centresaid there had been a big increase in footfall since the clothing retailer opened in the former market hall on August 24.

Jon Ingleby

Jon Ingleby

Linda Thomas, owner of Expressions of Lancaster, said: “We haven’t had this kind of footfall in over 10 years.

“Certainly not since 2008.

“We’ve seen a lot of new faces, a lot of people from Barrow and Ulverston, and Kendal, and we’re up in terms of takings. I did think it would make a difference in terms of footfall, but wasn’t expecting an increase in sales straight away.

“Everyone I speak to who works in the shops says they’re doing better.”

Lancaster's new Primark store.

Lancaster's new Primark store.

Jon Ingleby, co-owner of Gregory Williams butchers in Marketgate, said: “There’s certainly been an increase in footfall, not as much as we’d have hoped but it’s a quiet time for us anyway. There’s been a few new faces in as well. It’s a positive thing for the town.

“Whether people love it or hate it, to fill a shop that size when there are so many empty ones, has got to be a good thing, and it’s given everyone a bit of a boost.”

Peter Garnock-Jones, manager at Wilkinsons Cameras, said: “The whole centre seems a lot busier and in general it’s been positive. It’s a different kind of customer to the ones we get, but we’ve been getting a few fellas in waiting for their wives.”

Francesca Rastelli-Lewis, manager at Cafe Casa Ratelli opposite Primark, said footfall had probably doubled since Primark opened.

She said: “There’s been more footfall in the centre without question.

“It’s a lot busier now. Before that there wasn’t that much to come in for. There’s definitely more people coming from Barrow, primarily, and Kendal.

“It’s all about the footfall, and it has been good for everybody in the centre.

“We get a lot of the staff come over as well. It’s been a long time coming.”