Doncaster has developed a well-earned reputation as a shopping destination, with its unique mix of high street stores, indoor shopping centres, artisan shops, market stalls and out of town retail parks.
The town’s excellent road, rail and bus connections and its strong retail heritage attract year-round visitors from around the UK. Forward planning combined with Doncaster’s location and the variety of different shopping experiences on offer has helped the retail sector rise to the challenges it faces.
Rapid growth in online shopping has resulted in changes to our shopping habits. There is no doubt that growth in e-commerce sales has led to an increase in the number of empty shops throughout the UK. But our Independent shops are fighting back. In addition to the bricks and mortar shopping experience, they are increasingly offering on-line ordering and delivery to local customers, helping to reverse the decline.
The logistics sector has also benefited from the growth of on-line retail. Doncaster’s excellent connectivity and out of town business parks provide ideal locations for warehouses and distribution hubs for business such as Amazon, Next and The Range as they respond to the increase in online consumer demand. This in turn is creating new opportunities for investors looking to develop the infrastructure required to support growth in on-line retail as well as our reimagined high streets and shopping centres.
There are exciting developments underway in Doncaster to provide the all-important unique, modern experience for shoppers and visitors. The town centre is undergoing a radical transformation with an investment to the tune of £300 million. Shopping, cultural and leisure experiences are increasingly joining forces to create a compelling town centre offering that will increase shop occupancy, drive footfall and deliver retail sales growth.
Accessibility and the look and feel of the high street is being improved with an increase in pedestrian areas, more green space, improved directional signage and better car parking facilities. The Frenchgate indoor shopping centre is centrally located and has direct pedestrian access from the train and bus interchange, attracting over 17 million visitors per annum. Plans are afoot to redevelop some of the existing, less frequented shopping areas, to create a rejuvenated Innovation Quarter. There is also a real whirr of activity around the market square with its award-winning outdoor market and the indoor fish market, food hall, Corn Exchange, Irish market, and recently renovated Wool Market.
Lakeside Village is a purpose-built outlet shopping centre and other out-of-town shopping consists of the Danum, Centurion, Thorne Road and Wheatley retail parks. Retail is also vitally important to the local economy of our towns and villages, with popular destinations such as Bawtry, Tickhill, Mexborough and Thorne.
A wide variety of restaurants, cafes and takeaways complement the shopping experience, taking you on a journey of discovery with foods from around the world. Combining a shopping trip with cultural and leisure activities is growing in popularity, and Doncaster is able to take advantage of this trend with its lively nightlife scene, great places to stay and outstanding cultural & leisure attractions.
Attractions include parks & gardens, theatres & cinemas, stately homes & castles, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, world-class golf courses and the famous St Leger horserace meeting to name but a few!
The combination of Doncaster’s strong retail tradition and the need to cater for a more integrated physical shopping experience generates outstanding opportunities for investors who want to play a part in shaping the new retail ecosystem.
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