Regional shopping centres across the UK have reported strong festive trading periods, giving them a much needed financial boost at the start of 2012.
Shopping hubs such as thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes and Stratford Shopping Centre in east London have reported encouraging year-on-year footfall comparisons despite their close proximity to larger retail areas and centres.
Centre Director at thecentre:mk Robert Hall said that from Boxing Day onwards footfall has been strong, with queues forming outside some of the site’s retailers at 01:00 GMT on December 26th 2011.
Department store chain John Lewis experienced a 20 per cent increase in footfall compared to the same period last year, and Hall described his centre’s post-Christmas trading period as a “phenomenal success”.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Stratford Shopping Centre, which is situated opposite the newly opened Westfield Stratford City, has benefited from the presence of its larger neighbouring retail complex.
In the days leading up to Christmas, footfall was up by 38.3 per cent year-on-year, which equated to an additional 21,700 people coming through the centre per day.
Boxing Day footfall totalled 75,119 - an increase of 109 per cent compared to 2010 - while shopper numbers on December 27th grew by 76 per cent annually.
Centre Manager Andrew Norton said: “The Christmas period is always the busiest time of the year for shopping centres and, despite the challenging retail picture, we have been fit to burst.
“Our retailers have been reporting good sales in the run-up to Christmas and we expect that many will benefit from another boost in the new year.
“There has been a big focus on Stratford over the last few months and we’ve found that we have retained our position as the heart of the Stratford community.
“Westfield has attracted and driven footfall to Stratford and to our centre, showing that we complement and supplement its retail offer.”