Bradford businesses seeing a steady increase in footfall are hoping for a big boost this Bank Holiday weekend.

The Bank Holiday weekend is first one since the government lifted strict lockdown measures and local traders are eyeing a healthy uptick in sales.

Ian Ward, General Manager at The Broadway, Bradford, said: “This Bank Holiday weekend is a great opportunity for shoppers to take advantage of retailer’s end of season summer sales.

"Footfall is healthy as people become increasingly familiar with the safety procedures that are in place at the centre and become more comfortable with the ‘new normal’.

"The Eat Out to Help Out scheme definitely had a positive impact on footfall and we’re delighted customers are returning to enjoy the dining experience on offer in The Broadway.

“The welfare of our staff and visitors remains our utmost priority and we will continue to enforce measures over the Bank Holiday period to ensure customers have a pleasant shopping experience whilst adhering to guidelines.”

Bradford BID deputy chairman Mark Cowgill said “Footfall is continuing to improve steadily in Bradford city centre but we’re still a long way from last year’s visitor levels, so Bank Holiday weekends are very important for retailers, hostelries and others as they provide the opportunity for people to spend a little more time – and money –supporting their local economy.

“Normally, at this time of year, Bradford BID would be involved in organising or supporting some form of city centre event or entertainment to help draw in visitors but the pandemic has obviously made that too difficult to do safely so businesses who have been hit hard by the lockdown will not get that little extra boost this weekend.

“City centre businesses, who are doing the best they can to keep visitors and shoppers safe, need the support of local people and, if we want the retail heart of Bradford to grow and improve, there is no better time than now to get behind it.”

"It's important to get people in shops and not online," said Catherine Riley, Centre Manager at the Kirkgate Centre. "There are a lot of sales on and it's a great opportunity to get school supplies. Retailers are also Covid prepared."

She anticipates that a lot of people will be out shopping this Bank Holiday weekend as many will not be in a position to go on holiday.

"People haven't got it easy at the moment," she added. "The number of shoppers is growing steadily but it's been tough on people locally. The sooner we get out of local lockdown the better."

Steve Seymour, Centre Manager at the Airedale Shopping Centre in Keighley, said: "We've seen a steady increase in footfall by about six to ten percent per week.

"Our customers have been very good at wearing face masks and following the one-way system so customers can shop safely."

He also said coming out of local lockdown would help increase footfall.

"The sooner we get back to what the rest of the country is doing the better it will be for us. It's important we get back to a new normal but stay as safe as possible."