Bury St Edmunds is attracting more shoppers than last year and those who visit spend more money than the average for other town centres, according to a new study.
The independent benchmarking study was carried out by Towns Alive, a national company which gathers information from businesses and visitors in the town centre.
Commissioned by Bury’s Business Improvement District organisation, Ourburystedmunds, it aims to give information and advice on best practice to help small towns with the challenges they face from bigger cities and out-of-town shopping.
Presenting the findings to BID members at the group’s AGM on Tuesday, Chris Wade, chief executive of Towns Alive, said: “Bury compares very favourably, but this is about making good towns even better.”
He said the vacancy rate for units in the town was in ‘a healthy state’, that business confidence in the town was ‘up’ and that more people were using the town’s car parks on non-market days.
Meanwhile, he said footfall on market days was down and car parking was ‘one of the few things people are critical about in Bury’.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Ourburystedmunds, said he was ‘delighted’ Towns Alive received such a positive response to its study but that there was still work to be done.
He told the meeting his ideas for Bury’s future included implementing full town centre wi-fi coverage, aimed at making Bury a ‘social hub’, and utilising volunteer ambassadors to help provide information to visitors following the relocation of the town’s tourist information centre.