01 September 2020

A NEW piece of research shows that Sunderland city centre is among the best in the country in attracting back its shoppers.

According to think tank, Centre for Cities – which is currently tracking the recovery of cities and towns across the country – Sunderland is now at 93 per cent of its pre-lockdown levels.

And that puts the city centre’s pace of recovery among the top quarter in the UK.

Centre for Cities’ research highlighted that cities that are a comparable size to Sunderland had recovered about 79 per cent of their pre-Covid levels, while overall many major cities had only reached around 56 per cent.

Which means the city is showing a healthy level of recovery in terms of people coming back to shop and enjoy the evening economy.

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, said the statistics made encouraging reading.

“Businesses and organisations across the city worked together ahead of the re-opening of non-essential retail and the hospitality industry to ensure that we had a robust plan in place,” she said.

“We set up a Recovery Task Force so we could be properly prepared for when lockdown was eased and I’m sure this is part of the reason why we are seeing such a positive response.

“We carried out market research so we could find out what people wanted and what would make them feel safe to return to the city centre and then we acted on that information.

“All of that preparation and planning has clearly paid off, coupled with a strong desire for people to support local businesses.

“We hope this growth will continue, with people still remaining mindful of the need to stay safe and socially distanced.”

The Centre for Cities has created a High Street Recovery Tracker which provides data on the 63 largest cities and towns across the UK.

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