A shopping centre is North Wales is bucking the national trend of an overall decline in the number of shoppers.
Eagles Meadow in Wrexham is doing far better than the picture painted by the Welsh Retail Consortium which shows that footfall in Wales fell by 1.3 per cent year on year in December, the most important month of all for retailers.
The centre recorded a seven per cent increase in footfall over the year and a busy festive season which saw an 11.6% increase in November and an amazing 12.3% increase in December.
As a result the number of shoppers topped the 3.5 million mark for the year, the highest number recorded since the centre opened in 2008.
That took the total spending by customers to more than £190 million during the past 12 months.
According to centre manager Kevin Critchley, one of the reasons for the spectacular growth was the decision to slash car park charges a year ago, with tickets being reduced by between 55% and 38%.
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “I am delighted to say 2016 was an excellent year for Eagles Meadow and things are set fair for a positive 2017 which has already got off to a flying start.
“A big part of the reason for Eagles Meadows’ success is the fantastic mix of shopping and leisure that we’ve got here, which is also a great asset to the town as a whole.
“I think without Eagles Meadow, Wrexham as a town would not have such a strong shopping offer.
“We attract people from way beyond the immediate surrounding area. Not long ago I was speaking to somebody who had come here all the way from Bala, but visitors from Shropshire and Cheshire are some of our most frequent visitors.
“It is the shopping powerhouse of North Wales and provides a 1,000 of jobs for local people and brings in a huge amount of wealth for the town.
“With Eagles Meadow as part of the retail and leisure offer of the town, Wrexham punches way-above its weight and has an influence on the whole region.”
Sara Jones, the head of policy and external affairs at the Welsh Retail Consortium, said: “A major challenge for retailers is adapting and responding to the huge structural changes that are impacting on the retail industry at a faster pace than ever before.
“We need to ensure that policy makers are aware of these changes and are sensitive to them when making decisions and we ask that the Welsh Government adopt a Retail Strategy for Wales to support this process.
“As Wales’s largest private sector employer, retail has a fundamental role in supporting the well-being of our communities across the nation and it is in everyone’s interest to see a supportive business environment which takes account of the changing retail operating landscape.”