Shoppers have been returning to Bury St Edmunds and snapping up the town centre’s own gift card according to the latest data collected by the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds.
Footfall in the town increased by nearly 20 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021 and was also up slightly on the 2019 figure – well before the pandemic struck.
Meanwhile, thousands of pounds have been ringing through the tills of town centre businesses thanks to sales of the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card, which is now accepted by more than 70 different outlets. The card saw the value of sales since its launch exceed £100,000 just before Christmas.
Mark Cordell, chief executive officer at Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “We know that times are still extremely challenging for everyone which will, of course, affect businesses and customers alike. However, I am heartened by the footfall figures that show people are still visiting the town centre and the increase since 2019 is especially pleasing as that bucks the national trend where the figure is down by nearly 17 per cent,
“It’s also encouraging to see the rate of vacant units at less than half the national average – and I am hopeful that in due course new businesses will be found for some of the six-and-a-half per cent of premises currently empty.”
The Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card is among the fastest of all town and city cards to reach the £100,000 sales target, since its launch at the end of October 2020. And the fact that the card can be picked up at a number of premises in the town centre and loaded with cash straight away proved very popular in the run up to Christmas as customers faced uncertainty over gift delivery by mail due to postal strikes.
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex, the company which provides the technology for the Town and City Cards programmes.
He said: “It’s very pleasing to hear that so many people chose to give the Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Card as Christmas presents and that corporate purchases for businesses to reward their staff were also strong. The colder months of January and February are now an ideal time to use the card for a special treat whether that’s a purchase in the post-Christmas sales, a film or a show in town or perhaps meeting friends for coffee and a catch up at one of the many food and drink establishments accepting the card.”
For more information or to buy the card online visit www.ourburystedmunds.com