City centre success

Coventry city centre’s success is bucking national trends with a rise in footfall – the first since 2010.

Year-on-year footfall in the city centre rose in 2015 for the first time since 2010 and increased by 0.7% compared to a national decrease of 0.9%.

The recent uplift has been attributed to the city centre attracting more people for reasons other than shopping, with developments such as the Cathedral Lanes restaurants leading to an increase in evening visits and a 1.5% boost overall for the last six months of 2015.

The number of empty units in the city centre is at its lowest level since 2012.

Cllr Kevin Maton, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment, said:
“The increase in city centre footfall against the national trend goes to show that the redevelopment work has been effective and is making Coventry city centre a place that people want to spend time and money – key markers of a top ten city.

“For any city centre to thrive it is important to have a lively mix including retail and restaurants. The massive increase in evening use is also heartening, with students adding extra vitality to Coventry’s night time economy.

“We all want the centre to be successful and the heart of our city. Clearly, retailers are also noticing this change, with the lowest number of empty units for over three years.”

Spending habits in the city centre also appear to be changing, with fewer people visiting for non-food shopping trips. However, levels of spend in the city are rising, with people visiting less frequently but spending more.

John Kiely, Chair of the Coventry BID, said: “The figures released confirm a lot of what Coventry’s retailers and restaurateurs have noticed – the city centre is thriving.

“The work of the Coventry BID to offer events and incentives such as the Coventry VIP for people to spend time in the city is helping to create a place with a diverse range of attractions for those that visit the city centre.

“We are all working hard to make Coventry city centre a place that people want to be, and we will continue to improve and enhance the offer that we provide.”

Upper Precinct’s footfall has increased, with performance in Market Way, Hertford Street and Smithford way decreasing.

Crime levels in the city centre have tumbled, with a decrease of 6%, and parking in on-street bays has gone up by a quarter.

Findings from the research shows that the work of the Business Improvement District is helping stimulate dwell time, visits and spend in the city centre, with over half of respondents having visited city centre events and one in six being a member of the city centre VIP scheme.