BLACKBURN Market has seen footfall remain steady since its grand opening almost a year ago.

The market, which currently has around 90 stalls, opened on June 1 last year and has seen around 300,000 people attend the market every month.

During December, the market saw 347,200 people through the doors – with 107,000 visitors alone in the week before Christmas.

When it opened a total of 64 out of 127 stalls were trading.

Dave Harling, executive member for regeneration for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “At a time when retail is really struggling across the country, we are holding our own.

“With the Mall extension and the council moving the market into the Mall it has given that whole area of the town centre a welcome boost.

“The market has a 70 per cent occupancy rate and we are aiming to achieve 90 per cent.

“We are getting enquiries but we are being selective to ensure the stalls aren’t selling all the same items.

“We are 100 per cent behind making it a success. There is room for more traders and more customers.

“We won ‘indoor market of the year’ in January and it means we are up there with the best.”

Traders in the hall reported steady trade.

Lorraine Johnson, of Le RainFlorist, said: “We love it in here. There are lots of empty stalls but they could let more of the same stalls in. It’s a big market, and therefore a big market to fill.

"We have offered to spread out our stalls to make it look fuller, but the management won’t let us without paying.”

Stewart Cunliffe, of Sandersons bakers and confectioners, said: “The owners of Sandersons are very pleased with the market hall. This is their first stall venture. It is quite steady all the time.”

However, some traders say management could be better.

Mohamed Sabbin, of MSB Computers, said: “If you raise an issue no one deals with it right away. I pay my rates but I’m not getting the service.

“I could move to another market where I’d pay less, but I have worked hard to build my business. It is the manager’s responsibility to look after the traders.”

Loraine Jones, general manager at The Mall, said: “Since Blackburn Market opened, and The Mall announced the completion of the development last September, we have enjoyed a huge 12.5 per cent increase in footfall, which is wonderful news.”