Strong showing for Bognor Regis businesses over Christmas

Businesses in Bognor Regis put on a solid performance over Christmas, despite concerns around rising Omicron cases.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 4:51 pm

Footfall and occupancy statistics released by the Bognor Regis Business Improvement District suggest a strong showing for town businesses, despite the challenges of new restrictions introduced to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

In terms of footfall, BID data suggests Bognor Regis followed the national trend, experiencing a dip following the announcement of Plan B measures.

Even so, statistics were up by 20 per cent from 2020, suggesting a degree of recovery for high street retailers struggling in the midst of the pandemic, even if numbers were still 20 per cent down compared to December 2019.

Bognor Regis Christmas Lights Switch on. The Bognor Regis Christmas market and Christmas lights switch on by the cast of Spillers Pantomine, The Wizard of Oz. Bognor Regis, West Sussex. Picture: Liz Pearce LP191826 SUS-191124-195757008

For BID chairman Jason Passingham, the overall picture remains resolutely positive. “Although our visitors to the town centre have shown the expected decline in footfall in line with the global pandemic, it has been exciting to see our local businesses adapt,” he said.

“Another point that should be noted is that the decline in footfall has not stopped investment and it’s really encouraging to see so many new businesses demonstrate their confidence in Bognor Regis by opening up here.”

Occupancy rates are similarly optimistic. In what the BID calls the town centre area, including Queensway, London Road and streets leading down to the seafront, occupancy rates are well above the national 85.5 per cent national average, sitting at 96 per cent of units occupied by fully functional businesses and a number of new ventures are opening up.

“When you look at all the ground floor units across the whole of the BID area, the occupancy rate is a little lower, with 92 per cent of the ground floor units we count still occupied by businesses,” BID co-ordinator Heather Allen said.

“But what’s interesting is the figure is still higher than it was in June 2018, so there’s actually been an improvement in occupancy, despite the pandemic.”

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