Recession no bar to crowds

John Holt outside Houndshill
John Holt outside Houndshill
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THE Houndshill shopping centre has bucked the recession – and attracted even more shoppers in the first quarter of the year.

In January, February and March, the town centre shopping venue saw 25,000 more people pass through its doors than the same period in 2010.

The numbers represent a 1.2 per cent rise in footfall.

In total the centre, which has more than 70 retail outlets under one roof, bucked the trend with a recorded 2,209,803 visitors compared with 2,184,582 over the same period last year.

Major stores including Debenhams and Primark proved particularly popular at The Houndshill, widely-regarded as the jewel in Blackpool’s retail crown.

And the upward trend continued over the May Bank holiday period with a massive 20.1 per cent increase in footfall to over 763,000 people despite the difficult economic conditions.

Centre manager John Holt said: “We had a very busy Easter and May Bank period, and with the Royal Wedding as well the whole town seemed to have that feel good factor. We also had a host of entertainment and attractions over the holiday period to add extra value and sparkle.”

Mr Holt said he was looking forward to seeing results when the reopening of the Promenade and other regeneration projects throughout the town were completed.

New shops at the 400,000sq ft Houndshill this year include Virgin Media, Pandora, CEX, Claire’s Accessories, and Scent World.

They have proved a huge draw for shoppers not just from the Fylde area but from Preston, Lancaster and Garstang, according to footfall indicators.

And an eight-week local and regional brand awareness campaign will start this month with billboard posters in prominent sites and locations including Blackpool North rail station, Blackpool tram and bus advertising across the county.

Mr Holt added: “We have a unique and fantastic retail offer at The Houndshill and all our shops are gearing up for a great summer. We believe there is something for everyone here.”