Burnley’s shops are open for business – a fact highlighted by the town being named the best performing retail centre in the North-West.
Increased numbers of shoppers have helped to push retail rents up by 7% from last year, while new businesses continue to open in town.
A report from respected real estate advisors Colliers International identified the increase in Burnley of 7% or £5 per sq. ft in retail rents from £75 per sq. ft to £80 per sq. ft from last year.
The news was welcomed by Charter Walk Shopping Centre manager Mr Chris Gribben who said it confirmed what he has said for some time – that Burnley was more than holding its own.
He said: “The results of this report are great news. Visitor numbers have seen an increase in recent months – indeed footfall has been consistently high for a number of years now.
“Our percentage occupancy rates are well above the national average. Over the Christmas period it was at more than 90%.
“There is great confidence in the town now. Next’s new store is four times as big, while River Island also recently increased.
“The early reports from River Island are that sales are exceeding their initial targets.”
But Mr Gribben also accepted that a large number of shops within Burnley town centre are discount retailers.
He added: “Retailers will respond to the demographic. It reflects demand.”
Mr Gribben also revealed that a large national fashion retailer was ready to move into the empty unit next to River Island.
The Midsummer Retail Report revealed that average prime retail rents throughout the UK rose by 1.8% between 2013 and 2014 – the first such increase since 2008 – but remained 29% below the levels of six years ago.