Footfall figures return to pre-COVID levels in Liverpool city centre

Liverpool city centre

New data shows that retail and leisure vacancy rates in Liverpool city centre remain below the UK and North West averages.

The figures show that in the city centre, including Bold Street, Church Street and Lord Street, 9.9% of ground floor units are vacant, with the UK average at 10.9%.

It is a slight rise from the Liverpool total of nine per cent in January 2020, but still below the North West rate of 12.5%.

The data, provided by Springboard, comes as Liverpool BID reveals that city centre footfall figures have stabilised in 2022, returning consistently to pre-COVID levels. October 2022 saw a 2.8% increase compared with 2019.

In the first full year without a lockdown since 2019, Liverpool city centre recorded 71.7m visitors in 2022, an increase of 40% on 2021.

The highest day of footfall was Saturday, November 19, when 372,084 people were recorded. The highest week of footfall was the week of October 24, coinciding with half term, when more than two million people visited the city centre, representing 2.92% of the yearly footfall.

Saturday is the busiest day of the week, representing 18.62% of footfall traffic for the week. The busiest time is 1pm, suggesting a shift back towards the more regular rhythm of the city centre, which saw a shift towards the night time economy post-lockdowns. Weekends continue to be the busiest time of the week.

New businesses continue to open this winter. New faces on Liverpool’s high streets include Albert Schloss and Pizza Punks on Bold Street, Popeyes on Lord Street, Hawksmoor restaurant on Brunswick Street, Tonight Josephine on Hanover Street, Gaucho Liverpool on Water Street, CoCo on Castle Street and the stunning Radisson Red hotel opening on Lime Street.

Bill Addy, CEO of Liverpool BID Company, says the figures, as a whole, illustrate the continued pull of Liverpool city centre, for both business and visitors: “Liverpool’s popularity with visitors and businesses goes hand in hand.

“There is a confidence that a business can open up in Liverpool city centre and will attract footfall. Liverpool’s is a mixed-use economy, so we know that people come for a variety of purposes – to work, to enjoy cultural attractions, to shop, to visit a leisure offer, for food and drink.

“Each of these strengthens the whole and makes the city more resilient and robust.”

He added: “In 2023 we will be going back to our city centre businesses, from Bold Street, Church Street and Lord Street to renew our Retail & Leisure ballot. Coming on the back of a successful Accommodation BID ballot we seek another five years of our Retail & Leisure BID Area, which sees every business from the smallest independent to the largest multinational protected on our vital high streets. Each receives the same service and voice at the table.

“While we know Liverpool has weathered much of the current storm, we know difficult times are coming. We will be lobbying on behalf of our levy payers on business rates, VAT and continued support to help each of our commercial businesses not just survive in the next five years but thrive.”

The new year promises to be a big one for Liverpool, with Eurovision and other major events planned nearby.

Mr Addy said: “We chose to support Eurovision with a six figure investment because we know that there will be a return for our levy payers and for other businesses in the city centre. The subvention fund created through the Accommodation BID will help to support that same investment moving forward to help keep Liverpool strong and capable of holding its own against economic headwinds.”

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