'Ticked along nicely' - Fakenham businesses bucking high street blues

Businesses in Fakenham has reacted to news that footfall has fallen dramatically on the UK's high street

Businesses in Fakenham has reacted to news that footfall has fallen dramatically on the UK's high street - Credit: Aaron McMillan

As new statistics suggest high street struggles - businesses in Fakenham are bucking the trend and reporting a fairly good trade. 

Statistics published by Springboard showed that footfall across the UK in July had fallen to under pre-pandemic levels, at a decrease of 14pc in July compared with 2019.

This has halted the momentum made by shops in April, as they faced a huge battle to entice shoppers amid a record-breaking heatwave during July, surging inflation which has today hit a 27-year high, and the cost of living crisis.

However, the same data does show that across the United Kingdom, footfall compared with the same month last year had increased by 15.6pc compared with last year, 2021.

However, the picture in Fakenham is more optimistic. 

Nigel Maidstone, who has owned his business Special Moments in Fakenham since 1992

Nigel Maidstone, who has owned his business Special Moments in Fakenham since 1992 - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Nigel Maidstone, who has owned his business Special Moments since 1992 said that whilst the month was quiet, it was far from the worst he had seen.

“It has been quiet but I could not tell you a percentage,” he said.

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“I would not say my footfall had dropped as dramatically as those statistics, and my sales are not that bad.

“The heatwave did destroy my trade over those two days, I might as well not have been here.

“I did about a third of the sales as what I expected to do that week.

“July was not a terrible month, not brilliant, but I have definitely had worse.”

Andre Baker owns Split'z, a women’s clothes shop on Norwich Street, Fakenham

Andre Baker owns Split'z, a women’s clothes shop on Norwich Street, Fakenham - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Andre Baker owns Split'z, a women’s clothes shop on Norwich Street.

Mrs Baker has been open for nine years, and whilst it might not have been the best time, the high street is not dire.

“On those two heatwave days, I did not bother to open, I felt there was no point,” she said.

“There have been better times, but I am surprised at the number of sales since the pandemic. I had visions that sales would drop enormously, and I was never going to get back to where I was before, but I think I am on that path.

“There has been a better time for everyone on the high street, but has it been dire? I wouldn’t say so.”

Denise Benbow owns the greengrocer Benbows on Fakenham's Market Place

Denise Benbow owns the greengrocer Benbows on Fakenham's Market Place - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Denise Benbow owns the greengrocer Benbows on Market Place.

Mrs Benbow said that while she has noticed the high street is quiet, this has not affected her trade. 

“Sometimes we look out into the market place and it seems quiet, no cars parked or people around, but I feel we have just ticked along nicely over the last month. 

Sharrington Strawberries for sale at Benbows on Fakenham's Market Place

Sharrington Strawberries for sale at Benbows on Fakenham's Market Place - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“But that could be because we have that seasonal fruit in, like the Sharrington Strawberries which people love.

“I think we have been just as steady as last year, and from back in 2019 and I feel we still have the same, if not slightly more, footfall in our shop.”