Oxford Covered Market had almost one million visits in 2019 and a jump in year-on-year footfall in the run-up to Christmas, new data has shown.
Footfall was up 4.22% in the run-up to Christmas – with 115,941 visits in the six weeks to the end of 2019, compared to 111,248 visits over the same period in 2018.
During 2019, there were a total of 997,760 visits to the 18th century market.
The City Council, which manages the market, installed the footfall counters late in 2018 to measure the effectiveness of promotional and advertising activities.
The City Council is now talking to a number of businesses and organisations about taking on the small number of units that have become available since Christmas.
A new Japanese food business, Donburi Inn, opened in the market in January after the owners of Jeongs Dosirak (Korean Lunchbox) transferred their lease.
The City Council is also investing £3.1m into the Covered Market, which is Grade II-listed, to secure its long-term future. The investment includes £1.8m to secure the roof for another 60 to 80 years, and £1.3m for internal refurbishment.
The long-term aspiration is to transform the Covered Market to improve the entrances and facades in Market Street, High Street and the Golden Cross; make more of the communal spaces in the market; improve the existing units to enable more flexible and shared uses; and improve the market’s servicing.
The City Council is now looking at funding options and aims to produce the first iteration of the transformation proposals – known as a masterplan – by the end of 2020.
Oxford Covered Market, which first opened in November 1774, sells food, gifts, shoes, fashion, flowers and jewellery, and the market provides a unique showcase for the very best in local crafts, food and drink.
“I always do lots of my Christmas shopping in the Covered Market, and I was delighted to see it looking so busy and festive throughout December.
“Lots of people say the Covered Market is at its best in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s still busy and still selling lots of excellent fresh food and gifts now, so it’s worth visiting all year round.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Centre