Lancaster sees boom in new businesses opening in city centre

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Lancaster city centre has seen a stream of new businesses opening in the past year – despite the challenges posed by the cost of living crisis.

Recent additions to the city centre include Table Top Republic and Thai Thai Massage & Spa on Damside Street, Meet The Makers in Marketgate Shopping Centre, Seoul Food on Lower Church Street, Perilicious on Penny Street and Runner Duck Wine Room on King Street.

And more new businesses are set to open their doors soon including Geek Retreat in St Nicolas Arcades, Boba Boba Bubble Tea House on Market Street and Pure Vegan Café on Thurnham Street.

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"Everyone is aware of the difficulties currently facing many businesses, with fuel bills more than doubling and the cost of living crisis making customers think even more carefully about every purchase,” said Lancaster BID Manager, Tony Johnson.

Looking up Cheapside in Lancaster city centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard.Looking up Cheapside in Lancaster city centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard.
Looking up Cheapside in Lancaster city centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard.

"However, despite these challenges, there are signs of confidence in Lancaster city centre. It is particularly notable that so many of the new businesses are independent, strengthening Lancaster’s reputation for offering a unique mix of businesses which can’t be found elsewhere.”

Lancaster BID conducts a count of vacant units in the city centre each quarter and the abundance of new businesses has seen vacancy rates continue to fall to such an extent that they have now reached their lowest level for almost six years.

More impressively, vacancy rates for Lancaster have dropped below the national UK level for the first time during the same period.

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City centre footfall counters are also showing continued consumer confidence.

High Street footfall is continuing to climb from last year and is significantly closer to returning to pre-Covid levels than the rest of the UK.

For the year to end of August, Lancaster footfall was just 7.4% below 2019 levels for the same time period compared with a whopping 18.8% decline which is the average figure recorded across the UK.

Tony added: “With Liz Truss now confirmed as the new Prime Minister, we hope that support packages for both businesses and individuals to help with energy bills and the wider cost of living crisis will be quickly confirmed to ensure our historic city centre continues to thrive.”