Town is bucking trend for shopping customer footfall
LEAMINGTON’S town centre shops are bucking the national trend for the number of customers they are welcoming despite the current economic climate.
With several major high street chains with branches in the town including HMV, Jessops and Republic announcing either closures or having gone into administration recently the outlook for Leamington’s retail economy would appear to be gloomy.
But Stephanie Kerr, the executive director for Business Improvement District (BID) Leamington has said the town is faring better than many others up and down the country.
She said: “In these challenging times BID Leamington is very much focused on making our town appeal to visitors, customers and new investors.
“There are a number of positive indicators to show that we are succeeding in continuing to buck the national trend. For example, in the last six months of 2012 we had 22 new businesses open in the town including 16 independent retailers and some high profile multiples.
“We are also looking forward to some new businesses opening in 2013 such as Carluccio’s which is currently under construction.
“Last year, month on month footfall showed an average 4.3 per cent increase overall compared to an average 3.5 per cent decline in other UK towns and cities combined, excluding London, which is good news for Leamington.
Last week, the Courier reported how the Royal Priors shopping centre could be left with a large gap to fill in its upper mall should Republic follow in the footsteps of its neighbouring store HMV.
The latter is currently holding a final closing down sale and is due to shut in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, a similar sale is taking place in Republic although the future of the store and others owned by the company is yet to be announced.
Gerry McManus, manager of the Royal Priors, said: “It’s very sad that HMV is going both for us as a shopping centre and for the staff themselves.
“We’re working extremely hard with the lettings team to fill that void which is in a very prominent position in the upper mall.
“We haven’t heard anything about Republic other than what has been in the news and there’s nothing we can do there but to let things play out.
“We don’t like to lose any retailers and we have lost a few in recent years but we have got to keep trying to bring new business in.
“Leamington has been doing slightly better than other towns and cities and has punched above its weight in recent years.
“Footfall has gone up and we had a strong Christmas.
“It always seems to be around this time of year that we lose retailers but hopefully that is it now.”
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Weather for Leamington
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: West