Call for ‘virtual version’ of Sheffield’s Moor Market

25 Nov 2013....The Moor Market in Sheffield opens for business.Picture Scott Merrylees. SM1001/28e
25 Nov 2013....The Moor Market in Sheffield opens for business.Picture Scott Merrylees. SM1001/28e
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A virtual version of Sheffield’s Moor Market, where shoppers can buy from traders online, is needed a councillor says.

Coun Simon Clement-Jones’ motion asks council chiefs to bring forward in the next six months a proposal for the idea - which would allow customers to browse stalls from home, then collect their purchase, in a similar scheme to one going ahead in Leeds.

It will be debated at a full Sheffield Council meeting next week and comes after recent figures showed footfall at the market six months after it opened is 60,000 people a week, rather than the 100,000 expected.

A review of the market’s opening hours is also underway as the council looks at how to attract more customers to the £18m facility.

Coun Clement-Jones, who represents Beauchief and Greenhill, said: “Online shopping is just one of the numerous ways we can help bring market traders into the 21st century.

“Wednesday’s vote will be a real test of the commitment of council bosses to supporting local businesses.”

A team of shopping assistants has also been recruited, to meet and greet customers at the market, show them around and organise events.

The scheme, with the Department of Work and Pensions, gives opportunities to people looking for work in retail employment, and also aims to improve the ‘shopping experience’.

At least one of the three assistants recruited so far has been offered a job by a trader.

Mick Cull, owner of Fruit Fayre and chairman of the Sheffield branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation, said: “Customers are changing the way they shop and markets have to change to meet those needs.

“The Moor Market is rising to the challenge and you will start to see more business-led initiatives which set the benchmark for other markets to aspire to.”

One shopping assistant, Tracey Viles, aged 42, added: “Taking part in this scheme has also made me think about the career choices I might have in future.”