Rise in the number of shoppers in Sheffield city centre as ongoing redevelopment continues
Council and retail bosses have welcomed news that the number of people shopping on The Moor has risen by more than 20 per cent - and pledged to help the figure grow even further.
John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield Council, said the 23 per cent rise in in the year to February was 'driven by variety, independence, great public realm and new shops'.
And Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield welcomed the news and said he was 'delighted' with the figures while Diane Jarvis, of Sheffield BID - a group set up to promote the city centre - said they were 'fantastic'.
Mr Mothersole said: "It's pretty evident that the city centre is attracting more people and The Moor is attracting more people than it ever has done.
"I think it's down to a mixture of three things - I think it's a mixed offer, ranging from independent market stalls through to The Light cinema, the quality of the environment there is and that has improved enormously in Sheffield and we've always made sure that the public realm is excellent too.
"It's all these three things put together - if a high street was just to rely on one of them it would fail, it has to offer all of them."
Mr Mothersole said the retail industry had endured an 'anxious few years' as online sales grew but added: "What is becoming much clearer is that people have more reasons to be on the high street.
"The Moor is definitely benefiting from having Primark on it and Atkinsons , which is an independent department store which has stuck with The Moor when times were a lot tougher and hopefully they are reaping the benefits of staying with it.
"Hopefully with the ongoing developments and the forthcoming city centre masterplan the figures will continue to grow.
The figures come after plans for a bowling alley on The Moor were announced and fashion retailer Next said it would take over three floors of the vacant BHS store opposite Primark.
Gap is also due to open its latest branch underneath The Light Cinema as the figures showed annual footfall on The Moor rose to 11.2 million in 2017.
Ms Jarvis said: "The Moor is a great example of how private sector investment can transform both the public realm as well as the retail and leisure offer in a city.
"We would hope the figure will continue to grow. The Moor is definitely on the up and that's reflected in the organisations that are investing in it. It's a great mix that they are starting to develop.
"It's definitely becoming the 'go to destination' for retail and leisure."
Mr Blomfield said: "I’m delighted that we’re seeing the results of the investment on the Moor. I’ve kept in regular contact with the developers over their plans. As we move into the next phase, with top brands opening new shops, it can only get better."
Phil Huby, head of retail at Aberdeen Standard Investments,said fashion retailer Next would take a 42,000 sq ft store at the old BHS, which is around half the size of the Primark opposite, and Gap's new 9,000 sq ft branch is due to open this April beside Specsavers and JD Sports.
And he promised more news regarding additional cafes and restaurants in the block occupied by Light Cinema, where Pizza Express, Nandos, GBK and Zizzi’s are already serving hungry cinema-goers.
The Light Cinema's chief executive Keith Pullinger said it had welcomed more than 300,000 visitors since opening last April.
"We are delighted how well the region has taken to the cinema. As well as being great for us, it also provides an added attraction for The Moor and for Sheffield city centre," he said.
Mr Mothersole said a draft masterplan for developments in the city centre was due to be published 'shortly' and encouraged the public to submit their views on it once it was released.
The number of people living in the city centre has also risen dramatically - from 6,000 to 30,000 over the last 10 years.