Despite the rain and wind, Swansea city centre sales were soaring in December.
New figures show sales were up 4.2% compared with the same month last year, beating the UK-wide average by 4.1%.
The figures, independently compiled for Swansea Council, also show footfall in Swansea city centre was up 2.3% on the same month last year, smashing the national average, which fell by 3.9%.
Council events in December included Waterfront Winterland in Museum Park and the Christmas Market on Oxford Street, which lasted until Tuesday December 22.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said:
“The weather throughout December was especially bad, so these figures make for extremely encouraging reading – particularly in light of the competition our city centre traders face nowadays from online shopping and out-of-town retail parks.
“There’s a real buzz about Swansea at the moment, which is testament to the hard work of our long-standing traders, partner organisations like Swansea BID and the Welsh Government, and the new businesses to have opened in recent months. We’ve also just announced the winning ideas for the St David’s and Civic Centre sites, which will lead to an exciting new mix of retail, leisure and housing developments. These plans, along with forthcoming proposals for other parts of the city centre, will further boost vibrancy, attract more visitors, put Swansea on the map and generate more investment. This will then have benefits for the Swansea Bay City Region as a whole.”
Winning ideas for the St David’s development site include a new retail street, a café and restaurant quarter, a state-of-the art cinema and a 3-500 seat indoor arena. Proposals for the Civic Centre site include town houses, apartments, hotels, a new public square and better access to the beach than ever before. The best ways to link the two sites will also be further explored.
Some of the events Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) ran as part of the Big Heart of Swansea campaign included Santa’s post office, seasonal character walkabouts, Dickensian characters, a golden ticket promotion and city centre loyalty card offers aimed at encouraging city centre visits and in-store spending.
Working with Swansea Council, the BID also co-funded Santa’s grotto and a festive sleigh ride that transported people back and forth between Waterfront Winterland and the city centre. Click and collect spaces were also introduced.
Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive, said:
“Our free car parking promotion on Small Business Saturday experienced growth on last year, as did our year-round car parking offer over this period. As we come closer to our renewal ballot on February 25, where the city centre businesses and organisations decide the future of Swansea BID and its Big Heart of Swansea operations, products and services, it’s great to have contributed to this positive growth in foot flow and spend. This helps improve the economy and vibrancy of the area.”