New figures show that customer spending in Shrewsbury town centre in the run-up to Christmas increased at a “substantially higher” rate than the rest of the country.
Analysis for Shrewsbury BID by national retail experts, Beauclair Data, showed that spending during December was 15% higher than 2019, compared to the national benchmark of 4%.
Dr Abigail Hill, insight analyst at Beauclair Data, said the food and drink sector, along with fashion, were doing particularly well.
“We have customer spend data on 62 towns and cities in GB which we provide to Local Authorities, BIDs, and the third sector,” she said.
“Our December 2022 analysis found that Shrewsbury’s improvement in sales (+15%) compared to the same month in 2019 was substantially higher than the national benchmark of +4%.
“Shrewsbury also had higher than average improvements in the fashion and food and drink sectors compared to the rest of our benchmark town and GB city centres.”
Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, which represents more than 500 businesses, hailed the figures as positive news for the town centre.
“We know from talking to our members that a lot of businesses had a good Christmas, and these figures certainly back that up,” he said.
“Despite real pressure on household budgets, this data demonstrates that Shrewsbury remains a popular place for shoppers to spend their money.
“We know that as a town we are blessed with beautiful architecture and a wonderful blend of independent and national shops, bars and restaurants, which is continuing to attract people both locally and from all over the country.”
Despite being one of the most challenging years for business in decades, 2022 saw nearly 40 new shops and traders open their doors in Shrewsbury town centre.
Mike Matthews, chairman of Shrewsbury BID and owner of the Prince Rupert Hotel, added:
“Whilst the broader economic picture is challenging, Shrewsbury has a history of bucking the national trend and it’s great to see so many business owners choosing our town for their investment.
“Word is beginning to spread on a national level, with a number of recent articles in national newspapers describing Shrewsbury as one of the UK’s best destinations for a winter break.
“We all know that Shrewsbury is a great place to live, work and visit all year round, and the growing number of new businesses, combined with these strong sales figures, shows that our county town remains as popular as ever.”