Posted: Fri 1st Dec 2023

Decreased footfall in Wrexham City Centre due to shifting habits and new shopping patterns post-pandemic for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Friday, Dec 1st, 2023

Footfall in Wrexham city centre fell last month with a shift in working habits and new shopping patterns post-pandemic cited as two of the reasons behind the drop.

Data collected for Wrexham Council by MRI Software found that 362,367 visits in the city centre were recorded in October.

This is down 9.2 per cent on the previous month and – 6.6 per cent year on year.

Wrexham’s footfall figures are based off two trackers – one on the High Street and one on Hope Street.

According to figures collected by Springboard the busiest day of the month was Saturday 21 October with 18,414 visitors.

The peak hour of the month was 1pm on Saturday 14 October 2023 with footfall of 2,316 – the day Wrexham AFC played Salford City.

Wrexham was not alone in seeing a drop in footfall in October, with retail experts MRI Software confirming it was the second consecutive drop in footfall in Wales.

With Christmas approaching, consumers continued to hold back spending on non-essential items, according to MRI Springboard.

Footfall declined year-on-year at high streets (-6.9 per cent) and shopping centres (-3.7 per cent) with retail parks the only destination to see a marginal annual gain (+0.8 per cent).

Wrexham’s footfall drop however was larger than the Wales average.

MRI Software, predict a challenging Christmas lies ahead for retailers and hospitality, as households continue to feel the hit of cost of living constraints, rising interest rates and inflation.

On average it is Fridays (down 19.5 per cent) and Saturdays ( down 12.6 per cent) that have seen the biggest month on month drop in Wrexham.

The figures also show that Wrexham – like many other towns and cities – has struggled to return to its pre-pandemic footfall.

Cllr Nigel Williams, Lead Member for Environment and Regeneration, said a change in behaviours and working patterns means “we don’t live and operate the same as before the pandemic.”

He noted the impact that working from home could be having on retail and hospitality, with less people now going into the city centre for food, coffee or to shop during their lunch break or after work.

“Wrexham is different in that there is one large centre within the county where other counties may have multiple large towns, said Cllr Williams.

“Most of the local authority offices are based with the city centre and with the new modern ways of working the majority of staff now work from home two – three days per week so do not come into the office.

“The knock on effect of this is potentially hundreds less walking around the city centre popping out for lunch, a coffee or picking up the odd thing from the shop on lunch break.

“The publics’ shopping habits have also changed since Covid with people buying online and getting home deliveries.

“The data captured does not show the overall picture for footfall. For instance we do not have sensors on Eagles Meadow which would contribute.

“I’m sure the public will also be aware of the many tourists visiting Wrexham now from the UK and overseas.

“Our city centre sensors tell us that there are over 100 new people every day in the city centre, these show as phones that have never “pinged” on our networks before.

“Our out of town tourist areas are also booming with an anticipated 500,000 visitors expected to visit the aqueduct site this year as well as our national trust properties.

“We are working really hard to improve the look of the city centre to increase footfall and attract new businesses and achieved the Gold Award in this year’s Wales in Bloom Award.”

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