As the UK begins to build back its economic, health and social infrastructure following the significant challenges caused by the Covid pandemic, Stockport is planning for a strong and sustainable recovery to its economy.
According to Springboard data, footfall to city centres has been badly affected where in April 2020 it plummeted by 91% year-on-year and was 84% down after Christmas. Conversely, regional towns and commuter areas have seen a boost as people stayed nearer to their homes, supporting local businesses.
In Stockport, the early, green shoots of recovery indicate the town is more optimistic about the future, determined to bounce back, hitting the ground running from where it left off, pre-Covid.
In 2019, daily footfall in Stockport town centre was 67% ahead of the UK average. Despite the restrictions and closure of many High Street brand stores, Stockport has still managed to stay ahead of the national average albeit at a much-reduced margin. Across the month of April, Stockport’s footfall increased by 6% against a national average of 4%; week-on-week increased by 13% against a national average of 9%. *
Dan Coombs, sales director at Proximity Futures explains:
“Bigger towns have been hit harder than smaller towns during the pandemic. Footfall in larger towns is largely driven by the town centre offering for shoppers, commuters and workers, rather than by local residents who are staying closer to home in smaller towns.
“Coastal areas have generally seen increases in footfall as people enjoy walking and leisure activities as restrictions have been eased. For towns to retain and grow their share of footfall in the future, they will need to extend their offering to include more events and give their consumers a greater experience.”
But while there is a job to be done, a raft of new independent shops is emerging, indicative of the growing confidence of investors, businesses, shoppers and visitors – reaffirming that Stockport is once again very much open for business.
To help footfall recover, Stockport Council has released funds for local trading associations, or equivalent community organisations, to bid for a grant to run stimulus events to drive local footfall and encourage customers into shopping and leisure and support local businesses. Where localities do not have trading associations that can lead a bid, a group can be created to lead as the single point of contact for their area. Find out more by emailing for further information.
Another indicator of the town’s determination to keep moving forward
Over the past 15 months, Stockport has continued with its £1bn plan of investment. In addition to planned projects, new investors’ schemes, both residential and commercial, have been introduced and brought forward across the town centre to bring an added boost to the borough.
The Light cinema has welcomed back guests for the first time in months and the pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés are back creating a buzz around the town. Stockport Council’s Pandemic Response team and the team at Totally Stockport have been on hand to provide advice and guidance as businesses have quickly adapted to new and different ways of working, keeping customers Covid-safe.
Stockport based Robinsons Brewery, who operate over 240 tenanted and 20 managed pubs in North Wales and the North West of England, has continued to invest in its pubs throughout the pandemic, with a multi-million-pound investment programme including 20 significant refurbishments since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Holiday Inn Express at Stockport Exchange has remained open, initially supporting key workers, and latterly welcoming back guests. Pre-Covid, occupancy was running at 95%. Following an easing of restrictions in April and May, the hotel is already back to 70% occupancy, much of which may be attributed to a strong leadership in the business.
And while there is a real sense of optimism across the town, it is important that everyone remains vigilant and takes care to follow the advice and rules; to look after ourselves and others so we recover from the virus and continue to build confidence.
*Geo-Sense Data across 100 UK locations supplied by Proximity Futures