Bradford businesses had a “confidence boost” as shoppers flocked to the city centre for the first day of trading under relaxed lockdown measures.
Queues formed in the city centre on Monday – a stark contrast to the empty and desolate streets which became the norm during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Business Improvement District (BID) said its footfall cameras recorded a 100 per cent increase in the numbers of people in the centre compared with Monday last week, which seemed to be well above the national average.
According to Retail Gazette, shopping analysts Springboard reported a 50.5 per cent average increase for the same period across England’s high streets.
BID manager Jonny Noble said: “It’s important to bear in mind that the BID’s six footfall cam
eras do not cover the whole shopping area but in the core areas footfall certainly doubled on the same day a week ago.
“Given that there is still some uncertainty and nervousness among shoppers, we’re pleased with those figures and it has given businesses a confidence boost as they fight to get back on their feet after the lockdown.”
“I think people just felt the need to experience something that was a little bit closer to normality.”
Mr Noble said there was an expectation it would slow down after the initial rush – there weren’t as many people out today and not as many queues – but he said the signs are “really encouraging and we expect those figures to grow steadily over the coming days and weeks”.
The first day’s footfall represented about 58 per cent of average normal Monday footfall at this time of year.
“When the hospitality rules are relaxed, we’re likely to see the numbers of visitors to the city centre increasing again – although how that goes could depend heavily on the review of the two-metre rule with many venues saying that they need that to be reduced to give them a fighting chance,” he said.
While the Kirkgate Shopping Centre was unable to provide footfall figures, centre manager Catherine Riley said trading “exceeded expectations”, that the vast majority of customers respected social distancing rules and the centre’s one-way system worked well.
There were no queues for stores today, in comparison to Monday when shoppers were eager to visit Primark in particular.
Ian Ward, General Manager at The Broadway, Bradford, said: “It was good to see the mall buzzing yesterday for large parts of the day. Footfall was higher than expected and it’s likely that the great weather encouraged people out of their homes for the first time in a long time.
“Hopefully we’re demonstrating that a ‘new normal’ can be achieved and that The Broadway is delivering a safe environment for customers whilst supporting retailers as they navigate the current climate.
“Whilst the protocols are new for us all and we do expect that they’ll take a period of time to get used to, the first few days have demonstrated that customers do understand that we’re still in unprecedented times.
“We’re thankful for their understanding, patience and willingness to be respectful of others and the social distancing rules.
“We’ve been working hard to prepare our toilet facilities in the Centre to reopen them to the public whilst ensuring that they can be maintained by our staff safely.”
They will be open from tomorrow and will be closed hourly for an enhanced deep clean of all touch points.