Truro reports drop in trade prior to Covid-19 lockdown

3 minute read
Truro reports drop in trade prior to Covid-19 lockdown

Published at 6:34am 9th April 2020. (Updated at 7:34am 9th April 2020)

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A new report shows that a majority of shops and businesses in Truro City Centre reported a drop in trade before the coronavirus outbreak.

Whilst most shops in the city are currently closed in line with government guidance, almost 70% of businesses in Truro city centre told a survey undertaken before the coronavirus crisis that they had seen a drop in sales over the past 12 months.

The figure is included in a retail impact assessment report which was undertaken in response to plans to build a retail park on the outskirts of Truro which was refused planning permission due to the impact it would have on the city centre.

Consultants Avison Young published the retail impact assessment which includes information from a survey of businesses in the city undertaken by Truro Business Improvement District (BID).

The survey received 62 responses and 68% of the businesses reported a lower trading performance compared to the previous six to 12 months. The other 32% reported higher trading performance.

Additionally, 69% reported lower sales for the past six months compared to the previous year.


For businesses which could provide data about footfall just 8% said they had seen higher footfall with 37% saying it had been lower.

The report also looks at the number of vacant units in the city centre and how that has changed in recent years.

In 2009 there were 24 units vacant – 6% of the total, compared to a UK average of 12%, indicating that the city centre was performing better than average.

However, by 2018 that number had more than doubled to 55, which is 12.8% of the total. That was still better than the UK average of 13%.

But this year the report found that there were now 59 empty shops which accounts for 13.4%, higher than the national average which remains at 13%.

The report states: “Whilst the proportion of vacancies at a national level has also increased over the 2009-2019 period, the rate of increase in Truro city centre has experienced a much larger increase.”

Planning permission for the planned new retail park at Hendra near Threemilestone, which was set to have new stores for Aldi, Next, Boots, Smyth’s Toys and KFC among others, was refused by Cornwall Council last month due to the impact that it could have on Truro city centre.

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