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Sheffield tops high street recovery charts

Shoppers and visitors walk through Sheffield City Centre

As a result of various events taking place across the city, Sheffield has seen a significant increase in footfall in recent months, with residents and people from further afield enjoying everything it has to offer.

According to data collected by Centre for Cities, Sheffield city centre saw a huge increase in footfall in September, with the level reaching 89% of the pre-pandemic average – way above the UK urban average of 73%. Footfall figures included not only residents but people venturing into the city from other parts of the country.

The Centre for Cities figures were so impressive that Sheffield came out on top with the best high street recovery score of the 63 largest towns and cities in the UK in September.

Whilst Sheffield is still not seeing the footfall of pre-pandemic levels, compared to other big towns and cities we are on the up and doing well considering the circumstances people faced during the pandemic.

And, it appears large numbers of people chose Sheffield as a destination to visit while the events were taking place. Occupancy in hotels in and around the city rose to 79.5% - making Sheffield the highest scoring northern city except for York during September.

At the end of October the African-Caribbean market, the first of its kind put on in the city as part of Black History Month in Sheffield, attracted thousands of people to the city centre.

Crowds gather at the African-Caribbean Market in Sheffield City Centre

Crowds gather to watch performances during the African-Caribbean market last month

With over 30 stalls, including authentic African-Caribbean food, clothes, books, crafts and more as well as live performances from singers, dancers and poets, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

That week alone, around 180,000 people visited Fargate, with a 30.9% footfall increase, equating to around an extra 30,000 people. There was also a 19.3% increase in footfall at Moor Market, equating to around 10,000 extra people.

Throughout Black History Month art exhibitions were set up and live performances were hosted in the Moor Market which saw hundreds of people again flocking to the city centre to catch a glimpse of everything taking place. Sheffield also opened it’s arms to Little Amal in October, which saw the city centre filled with communities joined together in warm celebration, of our welcoming and diverse city.

Throughout September as part of the Summer in the Outdoor City event programme and going into the autumn, numerous other events have also attracted large swathes of people to Sheffield, including the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie premiere, the Sheffield Half Marathon and 10k, Castlegate Festival, Pollen Market and much more.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Executive Member for City Futures: Development, Culture and Regeneration, said: “After such a difficult time with the pandemic, the latest figures showcasing an increased footfall in Sheffield are promising to see and highlight everyone’s desire to get back into the city centre and support small business and community events.

“As a council we are committed to supporting economic recovery, helping independent businesses, particularly as they bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic, and maintaining a thriving city centre. We’re proud to host such a diverse event programme that includes sport, the outdoors, music, culture, creativity, heritage and more, and to boast in my opinion an unrivalled and thriving creative industry.

“It is fantastic to see Sheffield city centre buzzing with people and events, thousands came together for an amazing time last Sunday at our Christmas light switch on event, and there’s still plenty more excitement to come as we continue into the festive season. I hope residents and visitors will continue to get involved in all Sheffield has to offer.”

This Christmas, Sheffield will be buzzing with events and activities to get people in the festive spirit. In the city centre, visitors can enjoy the Christmas Market, the Alpine Bar and Lodge, ‘The View’ Big Wheel as well as Santa’s Grotto. Other Christmas markets are also being hosted at numerous locations including Chatsworth House, Meadowhall, Meersbrook, Sharrow Vale and Kelham Island.