LIVERPOOL ONE saw a surge in both footfall and sales during the crucial Christmas period, new figures reveal.
St John’s shopping centre also saw a footfall rise. However, Liverpool city centre’s major shopping areas including Church, Street, Lord Street and Bold Street experienced a fall from 2011.
Despite the tough economic climate, which in the past few days has seen the collapse of high street stalwarts Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster, Liverpool One’s stores saw year-on-year sales rise 5.4% in December.
Footfall for the month was up 2.6% and Saturday, December 1 was the busiest in the five-year history of the £1bn development.
On that day, 172,000 people visited Liverpool One – a 13% rise on the same Saturday in 2011.
Liverpool One estate director, Chris Bliss, told the Post: “It was an exceptional Christmas period.
“The back end of November was a little bit slow but once we hit December we saw some amazing statistics.
“I think we have done well for a whole host of reasons. We have a very strong retail offer. Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar joining us recently is a good example of that.”
St John’s shopping centre, which houses many value retailers, said the week beginning December 17 was its busiest since 2007 as 455,655 people came through its doors. It welcomed 1.4m people in December – up from 1.3m in 2011.
The picture in Liverpool’s central retail core – which includes Church Street, Lord Street, Bold Street, Parker Street and other surrounding streets and squares – was less positive.
December sales were 4% down on 2011 compared to a 0.3% rise across the UK. Footfall was down 4.9% during the month. Nationally, there was a 0.5% fall.
The area is overseen by Liverpool City Central BID. Its chief executive Ged Gibbons pointed out that despite the falls, this December was still its second-busiest since 2005.
“2011 was an extremely strong year for us,” he said, adding that he believed footfall remained “buoyant” against the backdrop of the economy.
The BID and Liverpool One also have very different systems for monitoring footfall so a comparison between the two is not necessarily like-for-like.
It is also believed some of the stores in Lord Street and Church Street were unhappy with the quality of the street markets claiming they may have had a negative effect on festive trade.
Liverpool City Council and its markets operator Geraud Markets were responsible for the markets.
In a statement, the council said: “Consultation takes place with the various businesses in the city centre each year to ensure their support to the market. The Christmas Market attracts visitors and is intended to complement rather than compete with the already exceptional retailing experience in Liverpool.”
A FULL analysis of Christmas retail performance across the Liverpool city region will be included in the next edition of the Post Business monthly magazine – free with the Liverpool Post on Thursday, January 24.