The number of empty outdoor stalls in Leeds Kirkgate Market has increased dramatically over the last five years, new statistics have revealed.
Figures released by Leeds City Council via the Datamill North website show “void” spaces in the market’s outdoor area have jumped from an average of 64 per day to 80 per day.
The council claims this is due to many traders retiring and their businesses not being taken on by family members, as well as the more favourable conditions in indoor markets.
A senior councillor added extra support was now available to help promote businesses in the market.
The stats show that in 2014, of the days Kirkgate Market was open, a total of around 64 of 201 stalls were “void”. In the first seven months of 2019, that average number climbed to just over 80 out of 185 spaces.
Each year saw varying numbers of the void stalls being offered at reduced rates to would-be traders.
The Leeds City Council member with responsibility for markets suggested the reasons for the decline in outdoor market numbers were many and varied, and that on average, most were occupied.
Coun Asghar Khan, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive member with responsibility for markets, said: “The outdoor market element of Leeds Kirkgate Market is made up of 185 stalls which on average are 68 per cent occupied, including both licensed and casual traders each month.
“The position in Leeds reflects the national trend of outdoor markets seeing a decline in trader numbers which is due to traders retiring and fewer cases of family members then taking on the business. Many traders also prefer the indoor market and the longer trading hours it offers.
“To try and address this issue locally, Leeds Kirkgate Market is working alongside the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) to support young traders especially, including hosting the first regional young traders final in 2018.”
He said help was now available for traders to promote their businesses, adding: “A 12-month digital support package started in July this year and is open to all traders, which aims to help them promote their business to a wider audience and is provided by Leeds Boost.
“There is also an annual events program for the market which this summer sees the market be part of the citywide Jurassic Trail, helping to increase footfall and attract families to the market, as well as incentives to support new traders in setting up a business at the market.”