Finance

The Piece Hall’s record-breaking weekend hailed as pre-pandemic numbers smashed

The Piece Hall in Halifax has recorded its biggest weekend since re-opening in 2017 following a £19 million transformation of the heritage landmark.

The 58,580-person footfall peak coincided with the launch of Winter Makers Markets at the retail, hospitality, leisure and cultural venue.

A Grade I-listed site, it features local independent craft stalls, artisan makers and pop-up food and drink stalls. Significant growth on the pre-pandemic 2019 Christmas market of 37,918 was recorded.

Read more: New gift card wraps up physical and digital purchases in city shops and leisure outlets

The data, obtained from automated technology, support broader figures suggesting that November is also set to be The Piece Hall’s busiest month since relaunch.

Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “The fact that we’ve had such an incredible weekend is testament to the hard work of our team since we reopened, as well as the resilience and determination of our wonderful independent retailers who have worked hard to help bring people back through our historic gates.

“The demand we have seen – which not only compares to but exceeds that of pre-pandemic levels – is another step forward in The Piece Hall’s growth trajectory since its transformation, and we can’t wait to share more exciting plans for the future.

“It also demonstrates the appetite that people have to get out and about again and support their local traders, particularly in the all-important run-up to Christmas. The festive shopping period is a big event in the calendar for many large retailers, but we really encourage people to consider doing things a little differently this year and choosing to support independent retailers.”

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Preparations are now under way for the second Winter Makers Market taking place this weekend and the remainder of the 2021 festive programme, which will see the venue host a spectacular line-up of music performances from the likes of the Buzzcocks, rapper Graft and Ibiza legend Ellie Sax, as well as other activities for all the family including Comedy Club nights and Christmas film showings.

Shelly Foster owns the Handmade Gift Shop within the West Yorkshire conservation gem. She said: “What an amazing weekend here at The Piece Hall with the market, the shoppers, the whole environment, everyone loved it. I was four times as busy as usual on Saturday, we literally didn’t stop, it was like Christmas came early.

“Everyone seems to love to stay local now which is brilliant for us. We stock the work of 67 Yorkshire crafters in this shop – they are all small independent businesses that we rely on – and they rely on us. We’ve taken all these fantastic things off the internet and put them in this one store, and people love it. We’ve got a great following. If we can take anything positive from the pandemic, it’s that people have realised just what they have right on their own doorsteps.”

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