Sheffield tops high street recovery charts with footfall almost back to pre-Covid levels
Sheffield’s city centre footfall is rapidly making its way back to pre-pandemic levels – and has been heralded as the fastest-recovering nationwide.
As a result of various events taking place across the city, Sheffield has seen a significant increase in footfall in recent months, with residents and people from further afield enjoying everything it has to offer.
According to data collected by Centre for Cities, Sheffield city centre saw a huge increase in footfall in September, with the level reaching 89 per cent of the pre-pandemic average.
This was way above the UK urban average of 73 per cent, placing Sheffield at the top of the list of the 63 largest towns and cities nationwide in terms of recovery.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, executive member for city futures: development, culture and regeneration, said: “After such a difficult time with the pandemic, the latest figures showcasing an increased footfall in Sheffield are promising to see and highlight everyone’s desire to get back into the city centre and support small business and community events.
“As a council we are committed to supporting economic recovery, helping independent businesses, particularly as they bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic, and maintaining a thriving city centre.
"We’re proud to host such a diverse event programme that includes sport, the outdoors, music, culture, creativity, heritage and more, and to boast in my opinion an unrivalled and thriving creative industry.”
Footfall figures included not only residents but people venturing into the city from other parts of the country.
Large numbers of people chose Sheffield as a destination to visit while the events were taking place.
Occupancy in hotels in and around the city rose to 79.5 per cent - making Sheffield the highest scoring northern city except for York during September.
At the end of October, the African-Caribbean market, the first of its kind put on in the city as part of Black History Month in Sheffield, attracted thousands of people to the city centre.
It included more than 30 stalls, including authentic African-Caribbean food, clothes, books, crafts and more as well as live performances from singers, dancers and poets.
That week alone, around 180,000 people visited Fargate, with a 30.9 per cent footfall increase. There was also a 19.3 per cent increase in footfall at Moor Market, equating to around 10,000 extra people.
Throughout Black History Month, art exhibitions were set up and live performances were hosted in the Moor Market which saw hundreds of people again flocking to the city centre to catch a glimpse of everything taking place.
Sheffield also opened its arms to Little Amal in October, which saw the city centre filled with communities joined together in celebration.
Throughout September, as part of the Summer in the Outdoor City event programme and going into the autumn, numerous other events have also attracted large swathes of people to Sheffield, including the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie premiere, the Sheffield Half Marathon and 10k, Castlegate Festival, Pollen Market and much more.
Yesterday (November 25) CEO of SCC Kate Josephs spoke at a public debate on Sheffield’s future hosted by The Star.
And she highlighted the recovery figures, saying they were a good start to an ‘exciting plan’ for Sheffield’s future.