First week since 'non-essential' Hartlepool shops reopened is hailed a success
Poolies have been eagerly filling their shopping baskets in the first week since the reopening of ‘non-essential’ shops across town.
Long orderly queues formed in front of several of Middleton Grange’s popular retailers on the opening day with dozens waiting to get into Primark while other shoppers lined outside JD Sports and Hays Travel.
Middleton Grange Shopping Centre manager Mark Rycraft has said people visited the shopping centre continuously throughout the week with Sunday, April 18, proving a hit as one of the most successful Sundays in the last three years.
Mr Rycraft said: "It was a tiring week for everybody, but very rewarding at the same time.
“We had one of the busiest Sundays that we’ve had for a very long time.
"It seems that there was a pent-up demand leading up to the end of the week.
The number of people visiting the centre matched pre-pandemic levels.
But Mr Rycraft has said customers have been spending more this time around due to the “pent-up demand”.
He explained: “I’m not sure whether this is sustainable, I hope it is, but we’ve got a lot more people spending than we would do two years ago.
“Our footfall is the same, but we feel customers spent more last week than they would normally because of the pent-up demand.
“It’s a really encouraging sign of customer confidence, but we want to wait and see how strongly that initial demand is sustained.“