‘Resilient’ shops see a rise in customers

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SHOPPING centre bosses are backing a survey which claims Doncaster is among the most resilient high streets for shopping in the country.

But one of Doncaster’s highest profile market traders has cast doubt on the findings and says it does not fit with the number of empty shops he sees.

The research, carried out for a Sunday newspaper, said Doncaster has seen an increase in ‘footfall’ and spending over the past few years, despite the recession and trend to research purchases online. It placed Doncaster as the most resilient high street in the country.

A Frenchgate Centre spokesman said: “This news confirms what many people in Doncaster know - this is a great town with an exceptionally strong retail offering.

“The Frenchgate itself saw an increase in footfall of nearly 13 per cent last week year on year and welcomed on average 49,893 visitors each day.

“From the high street to the market we have such a diverse and strong mix of independent and national businesses that cater for all tastes - it really is a fantastic shopping experience in Doncaster and it is great that the town has been recognised for that.”

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies the survey reflected the strength of Doncaster’s shops.

He said: “What makes our town special is the fact that it is not just another ‘clone’ high street.

“We have all the famous names, but a good mix of local businesses offering high quality goods and services too.

“This combined with the Frenchgate Centre and Britain’s best market makes Doncaster a shopping destination that is unrivalled across the region.”

But market trader Mick Maye, a former Doncaster councillor who has been on the market for 40 years, said he was concerned about the state of the town centre.

He said: “When I look at all the empty shops, I can’t see where they are getting this from.

“People still like to come into Doncaster, and we get coach parties coming here for the market, but the fact is there are so many empty shops.

“Most have moved into the Frenchgate, which is not really Doncaster town centre. When you look at places like Hallgate, it has pretty much disappeared as a retail area.”