CITY shoppers played their part in an increase in visitors to Worcester’s bustling High Street in the run up to Christmas, bucking the national trend of falling retail sales.
Figures revealed by Worcester BID show an 0.3 per cent increase in shoppers visiting the city’s stores compared to the same period last year. This is compared to other cities’ across the UK which have seen visitor numbers drop by an average of 3.2 per cent.
The figures are in stark contrast to national trends which saw the High Street ditched in favour of online sales.
Major names such as Marks and Spencer and Next were among those to reveal a weaker than expected festive period while the future of HMV is under threat after the retailer revealed it would once again enter administration.
Worcester BID chiefs claim the success of the city’s Victorian Christmas Fayre as well as the regeneration of Cathedral Plaza have made a significant contribution to Worcester ‘punching above its weight’.
Visitors numbers peaked at nearly 2.4million during December, thanks to Worcester BID’s popular ‘Christmas in Worcester’ campaign which saw BID chiefs team up with partners Crowngate Shopping Centre, Cathedral Square and Worcester City Council.
This festive campaign and other popular ideas, such as late-night shopping and free and discounted parking, combined with a high-profile marketing campaign, enticed visitors from both near and far.
Phoebe Dawson, chief executive of Worcester BID, said: “I’m thrilled Worcester continues to defy the downward spiral that other high streets are sadly facing.
“It’s undeniably a challenging time for businesses and consumers alike, but everyone is pulling together to come up with creative ways to ensure Worcester is an attractive place to visit and shop, and Worcester BID is delighted to support our hardworking traders.
“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to market the city and its businesses both locally and nationally, and while we instinctively felt that the high street was flourishing, it’s incredibly rewarding to see these efforts reflected in the independent statistics,” she added.
BID’s ‘Christmas in Worcester’ campaign was hailed an unprecedented triumph and its major marketing campaign, which included a pull out in The Times newspaper, was a strategic success.