Friday, July 03, 2009

Take That's boost for city shops!

Sell-out crowd for Take That
More than 120,000 Take That fans watched the band at the Millennium Stadium during two sell-out concerts

Shops and businesses in Cardiff have seen takings jump thanks to two sell-out Take That concerts - and the thousands of women they attracted.

The band's Circus tour brought around 120,000 fans to the city's Millennium Stadium on June 16 and 17.

It led to a rise of 10% in the week's takings on the previous year across the city centre, with some stores reporting sales increases of up to 30%.

City centre Manager Paul Williams said: "We have never seen anything like it."

He said in the past, many shops said the stadium did not boost their business, attracting visitors who were not interested in shopping.

"This was the opposite," he said.

"It took their businesses to a level they didn't expect it to go to. It was a time when everything went right.

"The majority of fans were women from the whole age range. It was also quite a family concert. People were making a day of it, coming to Cardiff for a coffee, shopping and lunch before going to watch Take That.

Take That's Circus tour
I think our retailers wish Take That could come to Cardiff every week
Steven Madeley, St David's shopping centre

"To be honest, it was just the boost a lot of shops needed. It's been doom and gloom on the high street, very negative and very difficult and all about promotions and sales, just trying to get people in through the door.

"This benefited the city as a whole - shops did well not just on St Mary Street [near the stadium] but across the city centre all day. Hotels, restaurants, bars and car parks also did very well - the car parks were up 25%."

He said, in comparison, the Oasis concert at the stadium a few days before Take That, had attracted a different crowd.

"They were probably straight to the pub after work and not interested in shopping," he said.

"We would love to see more concerts like the Take That ones that attract that sort of crowd. I've spoken to the stadium and told them that."

Manda Sharp, general manager at House of Fraser's Howells store on St Mary Street, said they were "delighted" by the increased number of shoppers.

"We saw huge increases on women's accessories, make up, handbags, shoes and perfume in Howells which clearly indicate that the increased footfall had significant positive impact on the city centre retail sector," she said.

Stadium's anniversary

Steven Madeley, centre director of St David's shopping centre, said shopping on the concert days - a Tuesday and a Wednesday - was "like a normal Saturday trade".

"We do see trade go up during some events at the stadium but this was the biggest we've ever had," he said.

"Trade was up across St David's centre, with people buying fashion, jewellery, mobile phones... I think our retailers wish Take That could come to Cardiff every week."

The retail boost comes as the Millennium Stadium, which is owned and operated by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), marks its 10th anniversary.

Managers have said that over the last decade, it has brought more than £1bn to the Welsh economy and supported 2,400 jobs.

As well as hosting rugby and football matches, some of the biggest names in music have played to huge crowds, including Madonna, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

Councillor Nigel Howells, Cardiff council's executive member for sport, leisure and culture, said the city had now "firmly established" itself as a leading sport and musical venue.

He said: "The atmosphere in the city centre during the concerts was fantastic and the results show that the whole of the city benefits from such occasions."

Millennium Stadium head of marketing Gwyn Dolphin added: "We were thrilled to showcase our capabilities to the huge numbers of visitors attracted to the Welsh capital during June, in a fantastic month for the venue and its fans."

BBC NEWS REPORT.

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