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Rotherham shoppers buck national retail trend

posted 12 Oct 2011, 01:49 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 12 Oct 2011, 02:07 ]
More shoppers are heading to Rotherham as people choose to 'shop local', according to new national research figures.

While major cities have seen a drop in footfall rates, many smaller regional towns such as Rotherham have seen the number of people in their town centres rise. Rotherham's rate for September 2011 has risen by a dramatic 32.3% compared to the same month last year.

A range of initiatives are helping drive the increase in shoppers and help reduce vacancy rates for town centre shops. New stores have been opening regularly including the recent launch of the Bitter Sweet Boutique selling a special range of gifts, jewellery, furniture and items for the home.  

Those initiatives include the hugely popular Shop Local loyalty card, which currently has over 11,000 subscribers, making it one of the most popular of its kind in the country, helping to spearhead a retail renaissance in Rotherham town centre. With over 100 town centre shops signed up to provide discounts and offers to cardholders, since its inception last year, the Shop Local Scheme is a significant success.

This summer also saw a range of town centre events and the opening of the Minster Gardens public open space in the heart of the town centre.

Cabinet Member for Town Centres, Economic Growth and Prosperity, Councillor Gerald Smith, said: "These figures reflect the positive changes that have been made in the town centre to help traders fight back in these challenging economic circumstances. Rotherham has to offer something different to shoppers and an environment they find welcoming. 

"To do that we have encouraged small business growth, found innovative ways to help local traders and invested in the infrastructure. The benefits of that are now being seen although, of course, there is still a way to go. With thousands of shoppers showing their commitment to Rotherham we are confident the town centre will continue to develop."

Bernadette Rushton, Retail Investment Manager added: "In September, Rotherham experienced a huge increase in the number of shoppers visiting the town centre which we can attribute to initiatives like our Shop Local scheme. The scheme has actively addressed gaps in the town's retail offering and we now have an extensive range of independent and specialist stores such as a chocolatier and a home interiors shop."

The research was undertaken by footfall monitoring services provider Springboard, who commented that the results highlight an increasing consumer desire to shop locally and support their town centres, rather than venture further afield. 

For more information on Rotherham Town Centre and the Shop Local scheme visit; www.rotherhamtowncentre.co.uk