Bedford is bucking the national trend with shops in the town centre reporting a huge increase in footfall compared to the same period last year.
The figures for the last week of January were up 8.8% compared to the same period last year and a fall of 0.4% across UK.
The increase was fuelled by a massive surge on the January pay day weekend ie
> Sunday up +40%
> Friday up +24%
and the biggest “actual” numbers still coming in on a Saturday.
Christina Rowe, director of BedfordBID said: “Bedford rallied in the last weekend before Christmas with people shopping for all those last minute items and like all towns we had been hit earlier in December with the online shopping trend, but now Christmas is over, the visitors are back.
“Free parking is an element, but that has to be promoted as part of an attractive offer which is exactly what the Love Bedford brand does for town centre businesses.
“Bedford Business Improvement District (BID) finances all the Love Bedford activity through contributions by town centre levy-payers,promoting Bedford to audiences far and wide.”
As one of the original town centre BIDs, Bedford has pioneered a range of activities which other BIDs now follow - such as the customer research programme.
“Its success is one of many and well documented with visitor numbers bucking the national trend as a result of multi-media campaigns BedfordBID has developed over the years.
“Understanding who our potential customers are, is part of a unique initiative the BedfordBID embarked upon with market leaders Shopper Anonymous, to help shape longer term visioning for town centre growth and prosperity.
“BedfordBID commissioned an industry first with Shopper Anonymous who have conducted thousands of interviews and feedbacks to provide the most authoritative programme of research in the BID industry.
“This is a further demonstration of the pioneering spirit of the BedfordBID team who were one of the first Business Improvement Districts introduced in 2005; now there are over 290 following this model including Central Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Northampton and many other surrounding towns.”
To find out more about BedfordBID visit www.lovebedford.co.uk