Liverpool tills ring to the tune of £536m

More than £536m was spent in Liverpool city centre’s shops, restaurants and leisure attractions in the second quarter of 2021, according to Liverpool BID Company. Tony McDonough reports

Church Street
Church Street, Liverpool, where shoppers have been spending more money. Picture by Tony McDonough


Shops restaurants and leisure attractions in Liverpool city centre generated revenues of more than £536m in the third quarter of this year, new figures show.

Data from Liverpool BID Company, in partnership with Movement Strategies, reveals the city’s recovery from the most recent COVID lockdown is gathering pace with an £87m increase in spending compared to the second quarter. Footfall is also recovering and is now just 10% behind 2019.

In July, August and September £113m was spent in restaurants, up 59% on Q2, £48m on on clothing, 181% up in £17m in Q2), a 19% rise in other retail spent from £32m to £39m, an almost 100% increase in spending on accommodation, rising from £10m to £19m and an 84% increase in spending on leisure and entertainment, from £3m to £5m.

However, with the reopening of restaurants, supermarkets took a dip, with spend dropping by 36% compared with Q2, £29m from £46m. Total spend in the L1, L2 and L3, covering Liverpool city centre included card and cash payments.

VISA card transactions totalled £349.1m and cash and other card payments reached £187.2m. Across the whole city there has been a growth on online expenditure which has sustained after the end of COVID restrictions with a jump from 32% overall to around 40% of the total expenditure.

The impact of visitors returning to Liverpool can also be seen in the data. Around 30% of spend in Liverpool in Q3 came from people outside Liverpool city region. Someone from London spends on average £160 in the city, while a visitor from Manchester spends on average £99. Biggest out of town spenders were from North Wales, Leeds and Bedford.

Most popular areas for visitors to Liverpool from outside the region are; North Wales, Cheshire, Leeds, Cumbria, Hull, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Northern Ireland. Looking at the time people are spending also gives an indication of how behaviour might be changing.

In Q2 2021, more than 30% of spend was between 2.30pm and 6pm. 27% was after 6pm, it’s around the same in Q3. The major difference is the increase in evening spend in Q3 compared with Q1, £32m higher than before the first lockdown in March 2020.

Food, restaurant, cafe, burger, meal, dining, hospitality, lunch
People spent £113m in restaurants in Liverpool city centre in the third quarter


Across the wider city, different areas of the city have different rates of local spending. In L27 – Garston, Halewood, Belle Vale, there was a 60% increase in local spending. A 10% increase was seen in L17, L18 and L19, Aigburth, Mossley Hill, Garston and Speke.

All are areas with popular high streets and shopping centres. Postcodes with a decrease in spend include L13, L5, L10, L9, L14, L24 and L7, including Old Swan, Everton, Aintree, Bootle, Dovecot, Knotty Ash, Speke and Kensington.

Liverpool BID Company chief executive Bill Addy said: “We have known that Liverpool’s recovery has been sustained whenever restrictions have eased and that is reflected in these figures. Liverpool benefits from having a strong offer, both in terms of culture and commerce which makes it attractive to business and visitors alike.

“Yet while these are encouraging they do suggest we need to focus on a need to look to the future and support our businesses in doing that. The economic impact of Covid could well lead to long term behavioural change which could have a significant impact on the local economy. We need to support business to be able to adapt to that. 

“Q4 is critical for retail, hospitality and leisure, with it representing around 50% of their annual income, so the next few months are important for the city and its economy as we head into 2022.”

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