Barons Quay in Northwich is ‘bucking national retail trends’ thanks to better than expected customer numbers during the traditionally slow month of January, say the team behind the £80m retail and leisure development.

Footfall figures from special counters installed at the complex show more than 230,000 shoppers passed through its doors last month, up from 210,025 in December.

Planning permission was approved for the scheme – which will create around 1,600 jobs and forms the core part of the vision to regenerate Northwich – three years ago.

So far, ASDA, Wildwood Restaurant, Costa Coffee and Odeon have opened up on the site, and leasing agents McMullen and LSH Manchester say there are ongoing discussions with ‘a number of high profile retail names’ but commercial confidentiality mean it will be months before Barons Quay is able to confirm any new signings.

A spokesperson for the scheme said: “Barons Quay and Northwich have been helped by the opening of the new Odeon cinema and the availability of 900 free car parking spaces at the heart of Barons Quay.

“Things are looking positive indeed with information showing the town bucking national retail trends with retailers and operators in the town reporting better than expected increases in customer numbers."

Barons Quay covers a huge area of 220,000 sq ft, part of which fronts onto the River Weaver.

A multi-storey car park provides more than 900 free spaces for visitors.

Cllr Brian Clarke, Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, said: “I am completely confident that this new £80million development is going to transform Northwich.

“The response from local residents to all the new openings we have had so far has been phenomenal.

“Northwich has been waiting for a boost like this for some time and we’re delighted to support this scheme which is helping transform Northwich for the better.”