Leeds Kirkgate Market has half-a-million very good reasons to celebrate its status as one of the city’s best-loved shopping spots.

Leeds City Council’s latest monthly footfall figures for the market show that it received more than 500,000 visits in both July and August.

The figures – 507,129 for July and 503,687 for August – are the highest of the year so far, and were in part driven by a busy summer programme of free family-friendly events and activities.

By running the programme, the market team was able to keep the customers coming during a period when some retail destinations experience a drop-off in trade due to holidays.

The figures are also a useful indicator of the positive impact of ongoing improvement work that has made the market an even better place to shop and socialise.

The last time the market hit half-a-million monthly footfall was in October 2022, when the figure was 500,760.

The total for the year to date, meanwhile, is just over 2.5 per cent up on the same period in 2022.

And, with further exciting events – including an Indian food festival taking place during the remaining months of 2023, customers are being encouraged to carry on supporting the market and its traders.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council's deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “These footfall figures are really encouraging and show that Leeds Kirkgate Market, with its proud history and rich character, remains a significant retail draw.

“The market has a special place in the fabric of life in Leeds and we have been determined to give it the love, care and attention it deserves – not least through the various multi-million pound improvements that have been made and continue to be made there.

“The numbers visiting over the summer would seem to indicate that the market team’s efforts – aided by the hard work and commitment of traders – have been very well received by shoppers.”

Recent improvements and support delivered at the market by the council include:

  • A £10m programme of ongoing work to repair, conserve and enhance the 1875 ‘blockshops’, the oldest surviving structures on the market site;
  • The provision of more than £1.4m worth of rent concessions to help traders cope with the financial effects of the pandemic;
  • The creation of the popular Market Kitchen street food hall and event space during a £14m refurbishment scheme in 2016.
  • The council is currently considering the potential for bringing a ‘container-style’ food village to part of the market’s outdoor site, with a view to boosting footfall for traders based in that area.

A planning application has also been submitted by the council for the development of a new hotel, gym and commercial units on the George Street side of the market.

The market’s story can be traced all the way back to the 19th century, with its Grade I listed main building being regarded as one of the jewels in the city’s architectural and heritage crown.