Shoppers are flocking into St Austell

Fri 4th March 2016

White River Place ended last year on a high after recording substantially increased footfall figures, despite both a regional and national pattern of decline.   

Figures for the last quarter of 2015 including October, November and December were especially high compared to the previous year, and footfall in December was an impressive 8.8 per cent more than the average for shopping centres in the South West and Wales region, and 6.6 per cent better than the national picture.   

The year on year increase in footfall of 6.3 per cent for November and 1.6 per cent for December at White River Place bucks both the regional and national trend which saw footfall reduced at the majority of shopping centres, and which came about despite ongoing bad weather and heavy rain during the final months of 2015, with the year turning in a positive 4 per cent up.   

This is dramatically better than the South West and Wales region, which saw an average drop of 2.9 per cent in November, and footfall was down by 7.2 per cent in December. Nationally, footfall in shopping centres fell by 1.6 per cent in November and was down by 5 per cent in December compared to 2014.   

Footfall figures were also well reflected in usage of the car park at White River Place with the number of visits increasing ahead of footfall and the average stay remaining positive against the previous year.   

Richard Hurst, Manager of White River Place, said: “We had a great Christmas in St Austell and it felt especially busy with so many shoppers pouring into the town centre and to White River Place to enjoy all the entertainments we helped to organise with the St Austell BID to make it the best Christmas ever for the town. 

“It’s very rewarding to see from the footfall figures for Q4 that we were busier during November and December than during the same months in 2014, and that footfall was up in the centre overall – especially when compared to the national average which saw a drop as increasing numbers of people chose to shop online. 

“This is fantastic news for St Austell. We’re proud to be working closely with the St Austell BID to help boost trade for the shops and businesses in the town, and to bring more people into town to buy locally, so it’s very rewarding to see that our efforts are already having a positive effect.” 

White River Place is one of a number of community shopping centres owned by Ellandi, which brought the St Austell centre into its portfolio in 2012 and has invested significantly in attracting new operators to help drive footfall to the centre and St Austell as a whole. 

During 2015, new retailers to open stores in White River Place included popular clothing store Peacocks, the buy, sell and exchange technology store CeX, and outdoor leisure and equipment chain Field & Trek. The centre’s busy Costa Coffee shop also expanded last summer, doubling capacity to cope with growing demand. 

White River Place is committed to supporting the local community and regularly contributes to charities, works with nearby schools and hosts free, family-friendly events for local people to enjoy. 

Last year, the centre provided free space in empty units to charities including the Royal British Legion for pop-up charity appeal stalls, and to schools including Carclaze Primary, so students could sell copies of a book they had made, and Cornwall College for students to stage art exhibitions. 

Weekly fun days were held throughout the summer holidays offering free entertainments for children including magic shows, street theatre and dance performances, and a jam-packed Christmas schedule hosted jointly with the St Austell BID featured musical performances from local bands, discos, dance shows and visits from Santa with live reindeer. 

Annette Miller, Manager of the St Austell BID, said: “It’s fantastic news to learn that White River Place and St Austell town centre were especially busy at the end of 2015 with record numbers of shoppers, especially when it’s clear that regionally and nationally, the picture was very different, and more people chose to stay at home and shop online. 

“The Christmas entertainments programme in St Austell for 2015 was bigger and better than ever before and really helped to bring more people into town, and much of that success is down to the joint efforts of our team working with the White River Place team. We continue to work closely with the centre to help make the town as successful as possible going forward to benefit local shops and businesses alike.”   

Find out more about White River Place on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whiteriverplace or on Twitter @Whiteriverplace


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