Fringe Box



Tills Rang Out As Festive Shoppers Flocked To Guildford

Published on: 21 Jan, 2015
Updated on: 21 Jan, 2015

Retailers in Guildford had a good trading period over Christmas, seeing lots of shoppers coming into town with the tills literally ringing out!

Bright lights, big spenders – Guildford saw an increase in shoppers coming to do their Christmas shopping.

Bright lights, big spenders – Guildford saw an increase in shoppers coming to do their Christmas shopping.

Year-on-year footfall figures increased throughout the town in December by 10.7%, compared to a 1.7% decline nationally and a 2.9% increase across the South East.

The figures, released by Springboard, show that Guildford still represents a major draw for shoppers in the South East, painting a positive picture of the town’s retail scene compared to the UK as a whole.

National figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) on January 13, indicate that retailers across the UK have experienced one of the worst Decembers since 2008, with year-on-year sales declining by 0.4%.

Expert consensus from BRC and KPMG focus on earlier discounting in November, namely the impact of Black Friday, influencing and changing consumer shopping and spending patterns.

Discounting in November had the effect of pulling spending to earlier in the festive shopping period, indicated by the 0.9% year-on-year increase in retail sales reported in November 2014 by BRC.

While December trading in Guildford remained buoyant, these figures also correlate with the increased footfall reported for Guildford town centre in November by Springboard, with year-on-year footfall increasing by 13.8% across the month.

Amanda Masters, general manager of Experience Guildford, the town centre’s business improvement district (BID) said: “Christmas remains the most important shopping season of the retail calendar for our town centre businesses and we are delighted with the footfall figures released by Springboard and the positive response we have had back from retailers.

“We have worked hard to promote the town as ‘the’ festive shopping location, introducing free parking initiatives with Guildford Borough Council, offering exclusive retail led discounts, undertaking a comprehensive above-the-line media strategy and building upon our Christmas lights switch-on event.

“Our strategy has paid off and businesses within the BID area have reported sales successes that will put them on a great footing for 2015.”

Cllr Gordon Jackson, lead councillor for economic development at Guildford Borough Council added: “The high footfall figures for December are excellent news. Thousands of extra visitors enjoyed all that Guildford has to offer over the festive season, from our exciting mix of shops to the range of cafes, bars and restaurants.

“The popularity of our town centre continues to grow, thanks to the close partnership between retailers, Experience Guildford and the council to help attract more shoppers to the town.”

To find out more about Experience Guildford and its initiatives to support businesses in the town centre visit

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Responses to Tills Rang Out As Festive Shoppers Flocked To Guildford

  1. Mary Bedforth Reply

    January 21, 2015 at 9:30 am

    No irony that this piece follows the one about the personal debt crisis that the CAB will be dealing with.

  2. Roland McKinney Reply

    January 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Two of those feet belonged to me.

    Perhaps I was lucky, but the town was much quieter than I expected.

    What really surprised me though (I’m not a regular shopper) was the number of empty premises in the High Street.

    I think I counted 10 (maybe more?) empty premises, with some concentration towards the top of the High Street, but I did wonder how this was a sign of retail strength, and how it could possibly mean that Guildford needed a massive expansion in retail, away from the High Street.

    Foot fall is relatively unimportant, it’s turnover and ultimately profitability that is important. Maybe empty premises are a better indication of the strength of retail in Guildford than footfall?

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