Lancaster city centre business leaders 'delighted' with footfall boost in first week of trading after lockdown
The reopening of retail and outdoor hospitality on April 12 gave businesses in Lancaster city centre a much needed boost this week, new figures show.
Queues were evident throughout the day outside many retailers and hairdressers.
Beer gardens were also busy with people braving the cold weather for their first trip to the pub this year.
Lancaster BID reported footfall in the city centre showed an increase of 8.7 per cent on Monday April 12 compared to the same day in 2019.
This compares positively with nationally reported figures showing footfall across England averaged 16.2 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
Tony Johnson, Lancaster BID Manager, said: "We were delighted in the response from the local community who have returned in such force to support our wonderful city centre businesses.
"After an incredibly tough year this really does feel like the start of a journey to recovery."
Both city centre shopping centres also saw increased footfall.
Sarah Harrison, centre manager at Marketgate Shopping Centre, said: "We welcomed back customers in their thousands yesterday and would like to assure everyone that we have and will continue to comply with government guidelines and regulations here at Marketgate Shopping Centre.
"The safety of our customers and staff is of paramount importance to us.
‘Yesterday we saw an increase in visitors of +1.9% versus 2019 and +181% versus June 15 2020, when non-essential retailers opened after the first lockdown, with the vast majority of our retailer partners reporting a positive trading figure for the day."
Jolanta Cross from St Nic’s Arcades added: "St Nic’s footfall increased by 2.8% from 2019 with particularly high levels seen between 10am and 2pm.
"We are delighted to see so many customers back in our stores and are working closely with each businesses to ensure the safety of everyone."
Lancaster BID has also been out and about in the city centre offering random acts of kindness to thank people for returning to support local businesses.
BID has already surprised customers paying for drinks in beer gardens, pasties and a haircut. The BID team will continue to surprise lucky customers over the next two weeks so visit the city centre for your chance of winning.
An illuminated heart is also being hosted by Marketgate Shopping Centre until April 20.
Post a photo of the heart on social media tagged #LoveLancaster with reasons why you love the city.
BID's favourite reason will win a £50 shopping voucher.
Lancaster BID is also encouraging people to download the LoyalFree App for a further chance to win.
Follow the trail of love hearts around the city before May 3, scan the QR code in the window and you’ll be in the draw for a £100 shopping voucher.