VISITOR numbers fell at Blackburn’s main town centre shopping hub last year - but bosses believe spending has gone up.

Capital and Regional, which operates The Mall, reported a drop of 1.2 per cent in visitor numbers for the first six months of 2014.


But the company’s half-year figures showed a rise in the average spend per head - and revealed ambitious new plans for a gym on the site.

Capital and Regional reported a total footfall rise of 1.7 per cent across its eight UK shopping centres, but admitted that trend did not apply to Blackburn.

The Mall attracted 6,078,404 visitors between January and June 2014 - an average of around 33,500 per day - compared with 6,113,157 shoppers in the same period in 2013.

Loraine Jones, the venue’s general manager, said: “The Mall Blackburn has attracted lots of new retail names recently.

"B&M has recently opened a new store, Warren James has agreed to upsize its unit and perfume and fragrance specialist Equivalenza will be opening one of its first stores in the UK this autumn.

“Footfall for the centre dropped by 1.2 per cent between January to June compared to last year, however we believe that spend per head has risen which is a positive sign that the retail market in Blackburn is improving.

“We are looking forward to announcing new exciting lettings for the centre in the near future.”

The Mall Blackburn, which has 129 lettable units across 575,000 square feet of space, underwent a £66million facelift in 2010.

In Capital and Regional’s half-year results presentation, the firm welcomed this month’s and mark ruling by the UK Supreme Court to prevent Peel Group’s proposals for an out-of-town retail park in Whitebirk. It also outlined tentative plans for an ‘amalgamation of units to create a gym’ within two to five years as part of a £36m initiative.

Ms Jones added: “There are longer-term plans to create space for a gym however plans are at a very early stage. We will provide more detail when we are able.”