Figures prove Nottingham is still a big draw for shoppers
NOTTINGHAM'S shops should have had a better Christmas in 2012 than they did the year before, new figures suggest.
An analysis of shopper numbers carried out on behalf of Nottingham's retail Business Improvement District (BID) showed there were four per cent more people walking the city's streets during December than in the same month a year previously.
The rise follows an even bigger leap in November, when footfall was up nearly nine per cent on the same month in 2011.
Nottingham's figures come despite the rise in online shopping, with the BID suggesting the rise reflects the lengths to which the city went to give visitors a full-on Christmas experience.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Neil Fincham, a director of the BID and manager of the Exchange Arcade, under the Council House, says the figures were even more impressive when poor weather was taken into account.
He said: "The Nottingham BID is working hard to attract visitors and shoppers to the city centre to enjoy what the city has to offer.
"In the past year, the Nottingham BID spearheaded a number of initiatives, including the Food and Drink Festival, the 48 Hours of Fashion event, an initiative to promote Nottingham's independent businesses and a Christmas campaign, all with the aim of attracting more people to the city centre in order to help businesses increase sales.
"These events are due to be repeated and expanded upon for 2013, with various other activities and campaigns also planned."
Nottingham's December footfall rise contrasts with figures for the wider East Midlands, which show a 1.2 per cent decline for all towns and cities.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council's portfolio holder for planning and transportation, said the figures illustrated the continuing efforts the city was making to turn Nottingham into a year-round destination.
"It's really encouraging that, despite the recession, significantly more people came into the city centre over the Christmas period compared to last year," she said.
"Christmas is a vital time for retailers. The council has been working closely with the Nottingham BID to promote Nottingham as a great place to shop with improved pricing for car parking and public transport offers."
She added: "Nottingham has a great range of independent shops and anchor stores but part of the reason people come into the city centre is because there's so much else to do while you're here – from theatre, arts and heritage to great restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars."
The figures come at a time when the high street has been hit by a series of high-profile retail failures, with names like electrical chain Comet, entertainment retailer HMV and photographic specialist Jessops all hitting trouble and closing stores.
George Cowcher, chief executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We've seen high street and city centre retailers come under intense pressure in recent years from a combination of falling customer footfall and a boom in online spending, so it's extremely encouraging to see that shoppers came to Nottingham in their droves in the run-up to Christmas.
"Nottingham remains one of the region's top shopping destinations, with a great retail and leisure proposition, and these figures show that it continues to be a strong draw for shoppers and other visitors."