Salisbury feels like a city on the up at the moment, especially when it comes to retail and restaurants.

According to the latest data from the Business Improvement District, Salisbury’s footfall is up 8.3 per cent year to date, compared to 3.1 per cent in the South West and 5.1 per cent year to date.

The shop vacancy rates, which the BID collects quarterly and came most recently in July 2023, are also positive: Salisbury was at nine per cent in comparison to 10.9 per cent nationally.

Since October 2020 (as far back as its data goes), the city has had consistent, considerably lower vacancy rates than the national average, with a mean difference of 1.4 per cent between Salisbury and the national average.

It seems Salisbury is significantly outperforming the national trends and above the regional trend.

This year alone Primark, Everyman, Deichmann and Bradbeers have opened or have committed to opening new venues in the city centre, as well as independent shops like Mossy’s Shoe Repairs on New Canal, Hixon Chophouse on High Street and Charlie’s Café on Catherine Street.

Analysis of official government data by real estate adviser Altus Group also recently found that almost 400 pubs in England and Wales closed their doors in 2022 as landlords struggled with rising energy costs and food prices

Compare that to Salisbury, which has seen the Anchor and Hope and the Coach and Horses return to Winchester Street following many years of closure, and new landlords for the Pheasant, the Salisbury Arms, and the Cathedral Hotel.

Robin McGowan - Chief Executive, Salisbury BID, told the Journal: "Salisbury is experiencing an exciting transformation with a surge of investments, a wave of new shop openings, and footfall rates that consistently outperform the national and regional averages.

"Our vacancy rates remain consistently lower than the national picture, reflecting investor confidence in the city. Salisbury's future continues to be positive, and we are proud to support and be a part of this vibrant and thriving community.”

Challenges remain and there are still tough times ahead - the concurrent closure of Fisherton Street and the River Park project continues to cause significant delays on the roads - but with Taste Salisbury and Christmas just around the corner, there is no reason why Salisbury can’t continue to go from strength to strength.