New figures show boost in King’s Lynn town centre visitors

King's Lynn town centre. Picture: Ian Burt.

King's Lynn town centre. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

New figures showing a rise in visitors to a west Norfolk town have been released but some shop managers have said the increase has not meant a boost in sales.

According to figures from the Vancouver Quarter in King's Lynn, the town centre has seen a 7.6pc rise in footfall over the last year compared to 2014.

The figures also showed a 5.2pc increase on December 2014, which translates as roughly 39,000 more people visiting the town in the run-up to Christmas.

Meanwhile, footfall to high streets across the country ​dropped by an average four per cent in December.

Kelly Gray, manager at Roman Originals, said their own footfall findings were in line with the Vancouver Centre's.

'The numbers have increased an awful lot from when we opened. The town centre is opening a lot more shops which are up to date,' she said.

The manager at the store, which opened in October 2014, said there was a 'huge' rise in shoppers in December compared to their first Christmas.

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Clare Thompson, assistant manager at fashion retailer Peacocks, said the impact of the surge in shopping online has been sorely felt at the store.

'People haven't got the money and with online shopping you can browse in the comfort of your own home. I just went out on my lunch break and there was hardly anybody out,' she said.

Abbie Panks, manager of the Vancouver Quarter shopping centre, said town centres have ceased to be 'strictly retail spaces', with people often spending leisure time there.

And West Norfolk councillor David Pope, cabinet member for ICT, leisure and public space, said finishing touches to the 2016 events calendar were being made, which he hoped would support town centre retailers.

But a store manager in the Vancouver Centre, who preferred not to be named, said some of the projects aimed at attracting the crowds had not boosted sales.

'The launch of the Lynn Lumière was good in terms of footfall in the town but did it help retail? No it did not,' he said, adding new eateries in the quarter encouraged visitors to 'dwell' for longer.

Daniel Bhagat, manager at clothes store Blue Inc, said: 'We finished 20pc up last year compared to the previous year. From March onwards and during the Christmas period, especially, trade was good.'

Do you have a west Norfolk business story? Email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk