Stoke-on-Trent's city centre is recovering faster from the lockdown than most others in the region, according to new figures.

Research by the Centre for Cities think tank shows that footfall in Hanley returned to 80 per cent of its pre-pandemic level in the last full week in August, after falling as low as 12 per cent in April.

This recovery compares favourably with other Midlands cities. Footfall has only returned to 47 per cent in Birmingham, 51 per cent in Nottingham and Leicester, and 67 per cent in Coventry.

Footfall levels are calculated using anonymised mobile phone data from Locomizer.

According to the Centre for Cities' research, high street spending has also bounced back faster in Stoke-on-Trent, reaching 100 per cent of pre-lockdown levels as early as the last week in July.

This is much higher than in Leicester, where spending has only got back to 43 per cent. In Derby, where footfall has recovered even faster than in Stoke-on-Trent, spending is at 85 per cent.

But the Centre for Cities says that only 35 per cent of city centre workers in Stoke-on-Trent have returned to their offices – suggesting that footfall and high street spending in Hanley is less dependent on office workers than elsewhere.

Coventry and Birmingham have the highest proportion of workers returning to the office, at 62 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, while Leicester and Nottingham have the lowest, at 17 per cent and 18 per cent.

Jonathan Bellamy, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Business Improvement District, believes that Hanley's recovery is due in part to the safety measures introduced by the BID and city council at the start of the reopening in June.

He said: "It is particularly encouraging to see, from these figures, how the Stoke-on-Trent recovery is taking the lead across the Midlands, and shows how our retail sector, our café and restaurant culture, the shopping centre and many others have really knuckled down and got organised, creative and innovative post-lockdown. It has paid off.

"We've received numerous comments from shoppers and visitors on how the Covid measures put in place by the BID and local authority made them feel safe when coming into the city centre, so this has gone a long way to instilling the consumer confidence required to help the high street bounce back.

"A huge well done must be expressed to our resilient and hard-working city centre businesses. And an even bigger thank you must go out to the loyal Stokies who have got behind our city centre businesses, and directly supported a vital part of the local economy that supports thousands of Stoke people employed there.

"This is a great start since June 15. But with the very difficult autumn and winter months ahead, the message has to be 'Keep being loyal to your city centre. It needs you, you need it!"

Article from The Sentinel




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