The pretty seaside town named one of best shopping destinations in the UK

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A seaside resort in North Wales has been crowned the best shopping destination in Wales, according to the Vitality Rankings. The rankings, which consider factors such as retail quality, shopper demographics, and vacancy rates, have placed Prestatyn in Denbighshire at the top of the list for Wales.

Despite many towns struggling in recent years, Prestatyn has thrived with a successful retail park and a diverse mix of retail and hospitality sites on the high street. This success has seen it attract big names like M&S and Next from neighbouring Rhyl, whose high street has struggled over the last decade.

Although Prestatyn was the top in Wales, its overall UK ranking was 134 on the vitality league table created by Newmark’s Consultancy and Analytics team each year, up from 143 in 2022. Wales’ average rank was just over 700 out of 1,000 town and city centres, an improvement of 47 on the last table in 2022.

Other places in the Wales top five were Cardiff, Monmouth, Ruthin and Blackwood, meaning Denbighshire had two locations in the top spots as the market town of Ruthin came in fourth.

According to the latest retail vitality rankings, Prestatyn, Cardiff and Monmouth are the top three Welsh towns. Newmark, the company that compiles the rankings, has not yet released the full list of 1,000 centres, reports North Wales Live.

Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, commented on the rankings, saying: “It is a very positive sign that both Prestatyn and Ruthin town centres, with their variety of good quality independent shops, have performed so well in these retail vitality rankings.

“In the case of Prestatyn, it is a marked turnaround from the 1990s and early 2000s, when out-of-town developments elsewhere hit it hard.

“Prestatyn’s success now demonstrates the value of investment and the provision of the services and retail opportunities that people want in the heart of the community from the shopping park to the Scala Cinema and Banking Hub. It also shows the importance of aiming for the good presentation and maintenance of public areas something that the Prestatyn in Bloom group strives for.

“Like everywhere, Prestatyn town centre faces challenges, with Welsh Government Business Rates increases and the national economic context, but it is shortly set to benefit from £4.25m in Levelling Up Funding and a brand new police station.

“It is my belief that one of the principal reasons for Prestatyn’s success is its relative ease of access by car and its plentiful free parking. This is something local councils must recognise. The vitality of our town centres is harmed when parking charges are raised, draconian anti-car schemes are adopted and public toilets are closed.”

James Ebel, Vice Chairman, Retail UK and EMEA, commented: “Whilst footfall might be slightly lower than pre-COVID levels in some major city and town centres due to hybrid working, sales have recently recovered to or bettered 2019 values for many tenants trading in these areas. Consequentially, many prime retail destinations across the UK have experienced a welcome return to the top positions.

“Some locations have been held back in the 2024 rankings. They have seen increased vacancy rates, as high street chains and independents alike have suffered during a tough trading period and left empty units throughout Britain’s high streets, whilst the cost of living crisis is constraining shopper expenditure in less affluent areas.

“However, the ‘waves of creative destruction’ that result from periods of economic and social turmoil provide opportunities for new brands and concepts.

“Online brands are taking their first steps onto the high street; successful occupiers are expanding into new territories; and new offers are finding space where it was previously unavailable.

“Therefore whilst many centres have returned to their pre-pandemic levels of vitality, others provide the opportunity for regeneration and renewal both for the centres themselves and occupiers that trade in them.”

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