Official figures have revealed Christmas shopping in Wellingborough has out-performed other town centres across the rest of the UK, despite the opening of Rushden Lakes.
Footfall numbers showed visitors to the town centre dropped by 6.4 per cent year-on-year in the week from December 11 to December 17, compared to a national drop of 8.8 per cent.
Regional shopping figures were also affected, with numbers dropping by 8.6 per cent across the rest of the East Midlands during the same period. The continued rise in popularity of online shopping has been cited as a major factor in the footfall figures.
There had also been concerns that Rushden Lakes, which opened in July 2017, might affect levels of Christmas shopping in Wellingborough, but store owners said they believe the retail park has had llittle impact.
Neil Pengelly, who runs The Pixie Gallery in Wellingborough’s Market Street, said: “I must admit when I heard Rushden Lakes was opening I was a little nervous, but I honestly don’t think the complex has affected my business at all.
“During the festive period I was run off my feet. I firmly believe people still prefer to visit smaller shopping outlets as they receive a more personal service and small business owners, such as myself, care more about their customers and want to deliver a first class product or service.”
John Cable, manager of the Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID), said: “I am very pleased that thousands are still choosing to shop in Wellingborough, despite Rushden Lakes being down the road. I’m not surprised to see our visitor figures remain strong and have bucked the national trend because we have so much to offer.
“Our town centre is a great place to visit, shop, socialise and eat. Not only that, but the people who live here and the business owners are so passionate about their town centre. We have some great plans for the rest of 2018, ensuring people will continue to come to Wellingborough and revel in what a great place it is.”