THE Broadway Shopping Centre has seen an eight per cent rise in footfall so far in 2019 – despite a downturn in shoppers elsewhere in the UK.
The centre’s manager revealed the figures at an event looking back on Bradford’s economic successes in the past year.
And Ian Ward also announced a new store for the centre – River Island will shortly be opening a River Island Kids shop in the Broadway.
Keighley College hosted the conference on the Bradford Economic Strategy – one year on, on Wednesday evening.
Those in attendance heard that in the past year 4,127 new businesses were created in the Bradford District, and average weekly wages rose from £455 to £488.
District wide, 6,500 new jobs were created.
Among those speaking at the event was Mr Ward, who is both the manager of the Broadway and chair of the Bradford Business Improvement District board.
Increase in wages and rise in new businesses given as examples of strategy’s success
Discussing the Broadway’s fortunes he said: “The centre had one and a half million extra visitors last year – there probably isn’t another shopping centre that can claim that last year.
“We’ve also had a number of new retailers opening up. River Island Kids is opening soon.
“River Island only opens its Kids stores in big schemes like the Trafford Centre, Bluewater or Meadowhall. The fact that they chose to open here is really encouraging.”
He said the store should open by Easter. It is opening in the unit next to the large River Island store, formerly Lambretta. It is believed that that chain is re-locating to another unit in the centre.
He said that in January and February the centre was up eight per cent compared to last year for foot fall.
Mr Ward added: “That is good when you consider foot fall in most shopping centres is running about three per cent down.
“We have become a bit of an event shopping centre, we have lots of events on, so people came to shop at Christmas and decided to come back and have a look round again in January.”
He said the re-opening of St Georges Hall and the relocation of hundreds of NHS staff to offices over the road from Broadway were helping the centre bring in more customers.
And Mr Ward added: “We are a shopping centre and we have to become a retail destination, and we do that by sorting out the night-time economy. We need to be delivering restaurants, bars, and recreation activities like climbing and ten pin bowling.”
Also sitting on the panel was Will Richardson from Pricewaterhousecoopers. Earlier this week the company announced it would be moving to Bradford, creating up to 225 jobs.
At the event he said the company was planning to move into its new office, on Godwin Street, on April 8.