Business is booming at Sheffield’s new Moor Market – with trade up 25 per cent on the old Castle site.
Figures from Sheffield Council show an estimated 400,000 people passed through the doors of the £18 million building in its first month.
The former Castle Market attracted 300,000 visitors in the same period last year.
And traders’ tills have been ringing with the sound of success.
Steve Waterall, aged 49, of Waterall Brothers pies and cooked meat stall, said: “It’s been a very good start for us – we’re quite a bit busier than we were at Castle Market.
“Our turnover is up 20 per cent. I think the location of the market has made a big difference – I know people who wouldn’t go to Castle Market because it wasn’t in a good part of town and they didn’t feel safe.
“When I started there, after leaving school, it was a much nicer place. Our stall had been started by my dad, Leigh, and his brother Eric in the 1960s.
“But the market became rundown. This new building is a vast improvement.”
But Mr Waterall, from Ecclesall, said some reservations remain among traders.
He said: “We are worried about the impact when full price rents come in, because we were on discounted rents at Castle Market and are currently in a rent-free period to help our businesses settle in. We’ll see.”
Some of the stalls on The Moor are completely new.
Sean Clarke, from Rotherham, left his job as a travel and tourism lecturer at Barnsley College in September to set up off-licence Beer Central.
Mr Clarke said: “We have no previous figures to compare with, but trade for us has been truly outstanding.”
Ian Bingham, vice president of the Market Traders’ Federation at Moor Market, said: “I think the majority of stallholders are happy, although the opening period was during the pre-Christmas rush so we’ll see what trade is like in the coming months.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for business, skills and development, described the first month’s trade as an ‘outstanding success’.
He said: “About 400,000 people are expected to have passed through the doors since it opened, against just more than 300,000 at the Castlegate Market during the same period last year.
“The opening of the new market has already had an excellent knock-on effect for other businesses along The Moor, with really positive feedback coming in from many retailers, and has given that part of the city a real boost at a key time of the year.”
Independent department store Atkinsons says trade is 10 per cent up on last year, while overall footfall on The Moor was 30 per cent higher than last year.
Nicholas Atkinson, managing director at Atkinsons, said: “We have seen a huge difference, counter to the rest of the country where it has been a very poor Christmas.”
Sandra Barley, The Moor centre liaison manager, said: “Trade has definitely picked up. The Moor, since the market has been with us, has just taken off.
“With the new paving and lighting, it’s just beautiful. It’s a pleasure to be there.”