'Remarkable' recovery for Weston shops after Covid

Sovereign Centre manager, Jon Walton. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Sovereign Centre manager, Jon Walton. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A shopping centre in Weston has seen business booming as people are choosing to shop locally and support independent stores. 

Jon Walton, manager of the Sovereign Shopping Centre, says footfall has been ‘remarkable’ since May 17, beating regional and national trends. 

During the bank holiday week, 121,000 people visited the centre with footfall at 91 per cent compared to 2019’s figures. 

Jon said: “We’ve had our best set of figures since August 2019. If you consider the circumstances and the industry in general, we are really punching above our weight.  

“Over the bank holiday it was great to see people browsing round town and enjoying the shops and restaurants, it really showed the potential of Weston. On average, footfall is about 82 per cent of 2019’s footfall. 

“A lot of people are working from home so they are supporting the local high street. People also aren’t travelling as far, so they’re enjoying the attractions the town has to offer and shopping locally. 

“There’s a great independent sector in Weston, with new places opening all the time. There are some really unique businesses here and every type of cuisine.” 

More: Council approves plan to repurpose shopping centre.

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The Sovereign Shopping Centre has a number of exciting events planned over the summer to keep people coming into the town centre. 

Brainiac Live

Brainiac Live is coming to the Sovereign Shopping Centre this summer. - Credit: Brainiac Live

Brainiac Live Detective Academy is running interactive shows in the former food hall in July and August. The free workshops, based on the popular TV show, give families the chance to use real forensic techniques to discover clues and help solve a mystery. 

It is the first time the Brainiac team has performed in a shopping centre and Jon is thrilled they have picked Weston. 

He said: “We are really excited about the shows. We wanted to provide something different and well-known which will get families doing something together.”  

The shows are taking place on July 22, 29, August 5 and 12. There will be 14-20 tables for each workshop and five shows a day.  

Every weekend from July 24, the former table tennis unit will also be transformed into a food and drink market to support independent businesses. 

Jon is hoping the market will also help to increase footfall across the rest of the town. 

He said: “The Sovereign Centre isn't just a part of Weston - it’s an integral part of the business community, supporting our local traders and visitors.  

“The town is doing pretty well. There are shoots of recovery and I can see so much potential here. It’s a great place to be.”  

To book a place for one of the Brainiac Live shows, click here.