AN Evesham shopping centre has seen a massive increase in footfall since lockdown restrictions eased, new figures shows.

In the first two weeks since most of their shops re-opened, The Valley has recorded an 80 per cent increase in footfall and total shopper spend is up 90 per cent, compared with the same two weeks of last year.

While the traditional High Street is suffering, Phil Maclean, retail director for The Valley, pointed to how social distancing is easier to do at outdoor shopping centres and this might be why shoppers are choosing them.

Mr Maclean said: “It’s a positive story of recovery.

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"We’ve had an impressive first two weeks, with people clearly choosing to shop in outdoor centres where they can get back to some normality whilst feeling safe. Spend is high right across the board, from garden to cookware, fashion to bedding and jewellery to craft – it seems that the desire for physical shopping still burns brightly in many.

"Our strong sales figures show the love for shopping in person is still very much alive and well. Outdoor centres can shape the ‘new normal’ of shopping. With plenty of space between shops, large outdoor spaces to take a break, free and easy parking plus good crowd management to avoid large queues and overcrowding. It’s easy to see why people prefer this environment to crowded city centre malls.”

A poll of 2,000 adults by The Valley, in Evesham, also found that of the things that now appeal to shoppers, 61 per cent said fresh air, more space for social distancing 50 per cent, and wider walkways between shops 41 per cent.