BIRKENHEAD'S two largest shopping centres have seen "healthy growth in customer visits" since they were acquired by the local authority, according to data out this week.

The Grange and Pyramids were bought by the council last year as part of its wider strategy for regenerating the town centre.

Following modest investment in marketing and management, the public has, according to the council, responded by returning to both centres in ever-increasing numbers.

The authority commissioned retail marketing agency Bewonder – part of global property advisors JLL – to help boost both centres’ marketing, with footfall increasing by 5.5% in the second half of 2023. Visits to The Grange and Pyramids rose from 3,287,507 in the first half of last year to 3,467,572 in the second half.

Among other highlights, were huge increases in social media engagement and visibility, with further scope for growth.

A quarterly events programme aimed at parents with young children, a more visible social media presence and a range of Christmas-specific initiatives, including enhanced festive lights and a charity gift appeal, have all encouraged the public to return.

Chair of the council's economy, regeneration and housing committee, Cllr Tony Jones, said: "We said from the outset that decline was not inevitable and that with imagination, investment and commitment we could tempt the public back.

"There’s so much to enjoy in central Birkenhead and this early data vindicates the council’s strategy and tells us we’re on the right path."

Les Lyon, centre manager of Pyramids Shopping Centre, said: "We have been hearing a lot of positive comments about how good it is to see events taking place at the centre once again.

"Both our retailers and customers alike are welcoming these new activities and the new monthly kids club, Pyramids Penguins, is proving to be very popular with the first event welcoming nearly 100 children, and the second event just under 200.

"Each Penguins Club will offer a free seasonal ‘make and take’ activity for children to enjoy, with the next event set to take place on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February. More details of this can be found on our website.

“We also know how key it is to keep our customers up to date with Centre events, our services and the latest offers from the retailers here and, as a result of the additional activity and events from October to December of last year, we have seen a huge increase in customer engagement on our social media platforms.

"We hope that more of our shoppers and visitors will like and follow these pages to keep up to date with news of our events , competitions and discounts.”

Occupiers include a mix of popular High Street chains, including Next, Costa, River Island, Pandora, H&M, Caffe Nero and JD Sports. Combined, the two centres cover 585,793 square feet.

The council’s retail investment is part of a wider strategy to reassert Birkenhead’s position as the natural centre for a peninsula with a population of more than 320,000 people.

A new market hall is proposed, alongside the transformation of the southern gateway into the town centre, with wholesale investment in new buildings and public realm around Central Station and the new Hind Street urban village.

Cllr Jones continued: “We’re entering an exciting period of change, investment and improvement and are absolutely determined to restore Birkenhead to the position it previously enjoyed as an employment and leisure driver for the whole peninsula.

"With three town centre rail stations, a major bus interchange and great road connectivity, we have the infrastructure to support major employers and more visitors.”

According to the data, investment in both centres’ social media platforms has also yielded strong results.

  • 262,672 social media impressions from Oct – Dec 2023 (+326% quarterly increase)
  • 18,192 social media engagements from Oct – Dec 2023 (+686% quarterly increase)
  • 256,036 Facebook impressions from Oct – Dec 2023 (+338% quarterly increase)
  • 4,128 Instagram impressions from Oct – Dec 2023 (+357% quarterly increase)
  • 15,500 Facebook followers (+2.8% quarterly increase)
  • 214 Instagram followers (+25% quarterly increase)