BALLYMENA is ‘bucking the retail trend’ with a 6.9% year-on-year increase, according to Ballymena Bid.
Independent data from Springboard claims that footfall figures have increased by 6.9% in Ballymena Town Centre, in the first half of 2019, whilst there was an overall 0.5% downturn in Northern Ireland.
The UK as a whole showed a 0.7 % decrease in footfall compared with the same period last year.
The Ballymena BID, which is made up of a wide range of local businesses from small independent retailers and services to larger high street brands, have a £1.5m five-year budget for initiatives to market the town and help traders to attract more customers, encourage growth, development and investment in local business.
Kathleen McBride BID Manager explains: “It has been four years since the businesses in Ballymena voted ‘YES’ to Northern Ireland’s first Business Improvement District (BID) and in the same week Ballymena celebrates a 6.9% year-on-year increase in footfall figures!
“It has been a fantastic four years for the BID where huge strides have been made towards improving the town centre by attracting more shoppers, tourists and businesses through events, partnerships and initiatives.
“The town centre has never been busier with regular tour buses dropping off tourists to shop, take in the culture and see the sites.
“We are delighted that footfall is up – challenging the UK national trend – and we are attracting more new businesses to the town with six outlets opening since December ranging from bars, dog grooming to retail.”
“Our town centre Safer, Cleaner and Accessible project has seen the streets hugely improved in their cleanliness and aesthetics and our training for business owners and their staff on theft awareness has been affective.
“We have provided increased funding for the town’s public areas, improved signage throughout and worked closely with the retailers to get the absolute best spend for the budget.
“The BID has worked hard alongside our partners, stakeholder and retailers to ensure that our offering is as diverse, broad and welcoming as possible.
“Ballymena Town Centre has always been and remains a hugely popular shopping destination for not just local shoppers but attracts people from all over NI to enjoy the unique variety of retail and relaxing eateries available for a great day out."
Andy Storey, Vice Chair, Ballymena BID, from Boots in the town added "We are delighted with the progress of the BID over the past four years and the fantastic news that footfall is up. As a business it is brilliant to have the BID’s support in helping to drive footfall, constantly improving the town’s offering and planning for the future.
“The news that footfall is up is excellent for the town centre and we would actively encourage any new businesses to continue to look at Ballymena as a destination of choice.
“With a strong network of support from the BID, Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ballymena Business Centre and Council start-up assistance, there is everything needed to make a success of new businesses."