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Rise in retail spend flouts national trend: City centre traders report 5% increase in sales

RETAIL sales in Central Milton Keynes are up by more than 5% year on year for the first quarter of 2024, driven by an increase in the number of customers.

New figures from MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District based on data of in-store debit card spend shows that the total spent in city centre stores and other venues totalled £30.9 million, compared to £29.2 million in March 2023.

The city centre welcomed around 373,000 retail visitors in March, up by 9% on 12 months previously. More than half came from outside the borough boundaries, a 2.2% increase on 2023.

Jill Farnsworth.

MyMiltonKeynes BID’s chief executive Jill Farnsworth said: “A key highlight of Milton Keynes’ success story is the significant uptick in foot traffic, particularly from outside the local area, reflecting the city’s undeniable appeal as a premier retail destination.”

Fashion retailers recorded around 30% of the total spending figure but there are significant increases for health and beauty, grocery and food and drink retailers, the BID figures show.

“With over 200 retailers, a great mix of restaurants, cafes and bars, and every leisure activity you could possibly wish for – all easily accessible on foot, by car and train – it is not surprising people choose to spend here,” said Jill.

“As consumer confidence grows, we look forward to continued growth for city centre businesses.”

The figures are in contrast to the national trend, which reports an overall decline in March 2024 of 5.4%.

MyMiltonKeynes BID collaborated with Beauclair, which records offline transactions from over 11 million debit card accounts, geotagging each transaction to track merchant location and retail sector.

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