Lancaster BID Christmas and Annual Review
11th January 2018
One of Lancaster BIDs objectives is to monitor and help improve the footfall and trading environment in the Lancaster BID zone. Footfall across the UK is on a downwards trend, with 2017 showing a national average reduction of -1.1%.
Lancaster BID effectively encouraged footfall into the city centre in 2017 through a strong annual events and marketing programme. This programme saw Lancaster BID support key events such as the Lancaster Music Festival, Chinese New Year and Lancaster Jazz Festival, which brought thousands of additional people into the city centre. Lancaster BID also produced a number of successful events, including Light Up Lancaster, Lancaster Christmas Lights Switch On and Dino-Day. Dino-Day was a particular highlight in the annual calendar, and saw a huge increase in footfall, as well as great economic benefit, with some businesses reporting that their sales had doubled on the day of the June event.
Although showing a 3% decrease in annual footfall, Lancaster's footfall has improved in each quarter of 2017. Footfall in the city centre started as a -5% drop in the first quarter, improving to a -1.9% drop in the final quarter of the year.
The improved footfall was especially shown over Christmas when Lancaster BID launched a 'Winter in The City' campaign which included producing or supporting events every weekend in the city centre, alongside a substantial marketing campaign to encourage people to shop locally. In the four weeks leading up to Christmas, footfall in the city centre was up compared to the previous year, with the week before Christmas being up a substantial +14.2%. The night-time economy also benefitted throughout December with a +13.7% uplift in night-time footfall impressions compared to 2016. In December, Lancaster also significantly out-performed North-West and UK footfall indicators.
Confidence in Lancaster was also demonstrated by the number of new businesses which opened in the city centre in 2017. Lancaster BID measures vacancy rates on a quarterly basis, which have shown that Lancaster city centre is performing better than the North West average. In particular, the last 6 months have shown a 13.7% reduction in the number of vacant units in the city centre. There are also a number of premises currently undergoing refurbishment, which we look forward to welcoming in 2018.
Lancaster BID Manager Rachael Wilkinson said: "We had a fantastic 2017, which achieved some really positive results for the city centre and the businesses who operate here. Footfall across the UK is on a downwards trend, but during Christmas, Lancaster managed to buck this trend. Although some businesses did notice a slight decrease in footfall, they also noted that sales per customer had increased, meaning that turnover improved on the previous year."
"We are really excited for 2018, especially the re-launch of our match-funded business improvement grants, which have previously made really positive impacts on the streetscape of Lancaster. We are also busy planning a full programme of events and marketing, to encourage people to visit this beautiful city."
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