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Norwich - A refreshingly different top ten shopping city

19th November 2012 Print
Elm Hill Norwich

Norwich, a unique city destination with thriving award-winning independent businesses, UNESCO City of Literature status and an exciting cultural 2013 ahead. As Norwich heads towards the busiest retail time of year in the run up to Christmas, the latest VENUESCORE 2011-12 survey from Javelin Group cites Norwich as among the UK top 10 shopping venues. The city has performed extremely well to maintain its number nine spot, the only East of England destination in the top 10, by far, and is forecast to move up to eighth position over the next five years.

The survey also highlights Norwich in a strong position as a truly dominant city centre with a score of well over 50%, meaning retail represents a relatively large part of the city's total offer. Another interesting fact shows Norwich has a good mix of malls and high street. Also in Norwich's favour is its accessibility. Shoppers can travel easily on foot from All Saints Green to Magdalen Street via The Norwich Lanes and The Cathedral Quarter in a day.

The city offers a huge choice of major department stores (John Lewis), premier variety stores (Marks & Spencer), department chain stores (House of Fraser) plus local anchor, clothing destination and multiple retailers. The independent offer of the city is very strong with many local retailers selling unique one-off products, locally produced merchandise, art, books, vintage and lifestyle, all excellent quality too. They are also award-winning.

Jarrold, Norwich's only independent department store recently won at the 2012 Excellence in Housewares Awards and received the Best Department Store, Independent -beating Harrods who were also shortlisted in the same category. This all comes as great news especially when VisitEngland, in reports earlier in the year, announced that 'Special Shopping' was number 7 in the top ten of activities of day visitors with 74 million day trips in England spent shopping. Along with 'Visiting friends or family', 'Special shopping' was joint top in spend in the list of activities at 15%. Norwich was also found to be the 6th most popular day visits destination in England.

In addition to being a shopping hot spot, culturally, Norwich 'punches above its weight' in terms of its vibrant cultural scene which is outstanding in both range and quality. Earlier in the year Norwich was awarded UNESCO City of Literature status - the first city in England to achieve this. The wonderful news is to be celebrated and will promote Norwich to a global audience. Norwich has an immense literary background; Julian of Norwich (C12th), Henry Howard (C14th), Sir Thomas Browne (C17th) and author of Black Beauty, Anna Sewell (C19th) - fifty million copies sold and one of the bestselling books of all time, plus an enthralling future building upon Norwich's growing reputation as a literary city.

2013 for Norwich is going to be an thrilling year on many levels;  top 10 UK shopping, UNESCO City of Literature, the University of East Anglia's 50th anniversary and an exciting major exhibition at the superb Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts; Masterpieces - Art and East Anglia, celebrating the rich and unique artistic heritage of the region, with works from across the visual arts - paintings, sculptures, architecture, ceramics, glass, jewellery, photography, textiles and design - from the prehistoric period to the present day.

Nick Bond, Head of Tourism at VisitNorwich said "Venuescore research confirms what we already know, the shopping experience in Norwich is amongst the very best and that's even more the case by virtue of what research can't put a value against; where else is the quality of the shopping set amongst such extraordinarily handsome surroundings and so comfortable a place to buy and browse?"

More good news for Norwich continues with the launch of the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) on the 1st November. The Norwich City Centre BID will invest £3m over five years aiming to; ensure visiting Norwich is an enriching, enjoyable and safe experience, that Norwich businesses have a strong voice and that Norwich is promoted to encourage new visitors and investors.

Stefan Gurney, Norwich BID Director said "Norwich continues to deliver a completely unique shopping offer that is reflected in our Venuescore Top 10 UK retail ranking. Our vibrant city centre offer has retail at its heart, from the boutique independent of Norwich Lanes & Timberhill to the two shopping centres to the major department stores; Norwich is as far from a generic high street as you can find in a city. Once people visit the city and see our diverse retail, cultural and heritage offer, they come back time and again."

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Elm Hill Norwich