Welsh shoppers up for first time in 12 months as new Caerphilly Market opens

After multiple delays, a new market modelled after a shipping container has opened in Caerphilly. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

There are signs of hope for Welsh retailers as the number of people visiting Wales' high streets has increased for the first time in 12 months.

Figures from the Welsh Retail Consortium suggest retailers were helped by the early Easter bank holiday.

The new data reveals Welsh retail footfall increased by 0.4% in March. This is up from -8.0% in February.

It comes as, after multiple delays, a new market modelled after a shipping container has opened in Caerphilly.

Ffos Caerffili opened its doors on Friday 5 April, after being previously delayed four times.

"It's just lovely to see local people supporting something", said Sam Eastcott, owner of The Circular Studio.

The most recent postponement occurred on 15 March after days of intense rain caused the finishing touches to be delayed.

Sam Eastcott is the owner of The Circular Studio which is trading at Ffos Caerffili. She believes the market is helping to provide opportunities to link up with other local traders.

She believes: "I didn't know any of them two, three weeks ago."

"Now like we've been able to support each other or even talk about collaborations which is something completely unbeknown to me.

"So it's been amazing to actually think about that as a new possibility."

In a post on social media, the Ffos Caerffili team said: "Caerphilly, you’ve been so patient. Diolch. We’re very happy to announce that Ffos Caerffili will be officially opening on Friday 5th April from 9am.

"Come down for coffee, brunch, plants, fish, vintage clothes, dog treats, and so much more. We can’t wait to see you there."

She added: "It's just lovely to see local people supporting something, and actually to support something from the get-go and to be apart of the history of Caerphilly really - something completely different."

The community market aims to serve as a hub for the town and is an integral component of the Caerphilly Town 2035 Placemaking Plan, which has received financial backing from the Welsh Government's Transforming Towns initiative.

According to Jamie Pritchard, deputy leader of Caerphilly Council, Ffos is expected to house 28 independent retailers, such as Taiwanese street food vendor Bao Selecta and vintage clothing store Circular Studio. It also aims to create between 40 and 50 new jobs in the community.

Mr Pritchard said: "Ffos Caerffili has encountered a number of challenges, which have now been overcome. The facility is nearly ready to open and there is a real sense of anticipation in the town.

"We are creating a venue where businesses can thrive, right in the heart of the town centre. Promoting and developing new business opportunities is absolutely critical and we're looking forward to opening the doors."

The project has received backing from the European Regional Development Fund via the Welsh Government, as well as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...