Footfall in Southport has risen this year

By Andrew Brown

Over five million people have visited Southport already this year, attracted by exciting new attractions and a staycation boom. 

The total number of visitors for the year to date is 5,065,024 which is 16.6% up on the previous year.

Year on Year, footfall in Southport is currently 5.1 % higher than 2019 – the last normal trading year before the Covid pandemic – set against -14 % for the North and Yorkshire and -21.7 % for the UK. 

The impressive footfall figures, compiled by Springboard Research Ltd, shows that the number of people visiting Southport is double the average for the North and Yorkshire region (8.6&%) and five times the average for the UK (3.4%). 

The growth is being driven by significant government and private investment in the beautiful coastal town. 

The new Beales department store opened last week – the third Beales store in the UK and the first in the North of England – while the new Southport Market food, drink and events venue opened in July following a £1.4million transformation led by Sefton Council and supported by Town Deal funding.

Southport Business Improvement District (Southport BID) working with contractors IllumiDex UK Ltd created ‘a boulevard of light’ with 300,000 lights along the mile-long Lord Street earlier this year to boost the town’s night-time economy. The scheme was praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament. 

And the £38.5million awarded to Southport by the Government through the Towns Fund is set to secure schemes including a new Lakeside Events Centre and a spectacular light show in the Marine Lake. 

Southport has also been buoyed by the current UK staycation boom with attractions such as Southport Pleasureland now fully operational after lockdown, and popular events such as the British Musical Fireworks, Southport Food and Drink Festival and Southport Comedy Festival all returning. 

Southport BID Business Engagement Manager Luke Randles said: “After the difficulties that businesses have faced over the last eighteen months, it’s fantastic to see how our town centre is emerging stronger than ever. 

“These footfall figures reaffirm the recent feedback we have received from both Southport businesses and residents, and show just how important high-quality retail is to our high streets.

“This data, coupled with the recent streak of news regarding investment, shows that Southport has the infrastructure in place to continue with a positive trend.”

The continuing attraction of Southport to visitors has been further boosted by last week’s opening of the new three-storey Beales department store on Lord Street, following an £800,000 investment and leading to the creation of 40 new jobs. 

Last Thursday (12th August) hundreds of shoppers queued outside ready for the grand opening. 

The busiest day for visitors last week, according to Springboard Research Ltd, was Thursday, when over 43,000 people came to Southport – the day that Beales opened. 

Beales CEO Tony Brown said: “These figures are really good news for Southport. 

“I am incredibly pleased that the opening of Beales has helped to make such a difference, especially in the continued revitalisation of Lord Street. 

“Our new store is currently trading beyond our expectations. 

“We are very pleased with the direction, the product mix and the product placement on offer. We still have more new brands to come in and join us.”

Beales department store on Lord Street in Southport. Photo of Andrew Brown Media

Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills Cllr Marion Atkinson said:

 “It’s fantastic news that there has been an increase in footfall in Southport this year and indicates a step in the right direction as we look for the local economy to bounce back post-pandemic. It also demonstrates the clear confidence being shown by private investors right here in Sefton.

 “The new Southport Market has been open just short of a month now and the overall feedback has been extremely positive. Tens of thousands of residents and visitors have sampled the amazing food and drink on offer there, and I’m certain that their visits are translating into a much-needed boost for other business across the town centre.

Southport Market. Photo by Mark Shirley

Southport Market. Photo by Mark Shirley

 “The wider benefits of the council’s investment in Southport is already becoming apparent, not only with the increased footfall but a number of longer-term vacant units around the market now becoming occupied.

 “We look forward to implementing more exciting plans at Southport Market, plus we have the hugely exciting Events Centre to come as the next stage of the Southport Town Deal.”

If you are a BID business and would like more information on the weekly footfall figures, please contact info@southportbid.com or luke@southportbid.com

 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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