City centre businesses cheer as superheroes pull the crowds

Superheroes swooped into the streets of Hull and sent footfall figures flying to bring a half-term holiday boost for city centre businesses.

Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman and more attracted thousands of people to the event which kicked off a summer of family friendly activities funded and organised by HullBID.

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “We present these events because we know from our evaluation that they make a big difference to our member businesses by pulling in big crowds.

“The families love it because the entertainment is fun, free and on their doorstep. The businesses love it because they work together to build the footfall which is so important to them. Everybody has a great day and the most exciting thing is they know it’s just the start – there is much more to come!”

Superhero Day was added to the HullBID summer programme last year and was an instant hit. Spiderman, Captain America and others built on the success of Dino Day, which came to Hull in 2022 and 2023, and which will be back again in August.

Hull Street Food Nights resume later this month and will again bring a wide variety of food, drink and live entertainment to Zebedee’s Yard on Thursday June 20th, Thursday July 11th, Thursday August 15th and Thursday September 19th.

Kathryn said: “We consulted with the businesses after every event and the feedback made it absolutely clear that they felt a real buzz from seeing so many people heading into the city centre, with the free entertainment leaving them with a bit more to spend in the shops and eateries.”

The Prospect Centre supported Superhero Day with a £1 parking offer and reported that footfall was up 18.6 per cent year on year and 52.6 per cent on the previous week, with figures for the car park up 144 per cent on the previous week.

Individual businesses in the city centre also reported big increases.

Gurpreet Kaur, who owns Goldenfry fish and chip shop in Savile Street with her husband, said: “Superhero Day went really well for us and we were packed until well into the afternoon. I think we were up at least 60 per cent on a normal Friday.

“We took over the business about two years ago and we’ve seen a few of these events since then. Dino Day is even busier so we’re really looking forward to that coming round again.”

Harry Milner, manager at Ponto Lounge in King Edward Street, said: “We were really, really busy. We’d expect that because it was right outside our front door but it was clear other businesses also did very well and the event itself was very, very good!”

Businesses in other sectors also recognised the benefits of raising their profile as the crowds descended.

Steve Naylor, manager at Timpson in King Edward Street, said: “Our client base is a bit older than the superhero fans but it’s good for all of us to see the crowds. When I was a kid I used to come into the city centre just to go to the Disney Store and that’s how it felt with this event.”

Milly McGowan, manager of the Dr Marten store in King Edward Street, added: “Superhero Day doesn’t necessarily mean we sell more on the day because most of the people are a bit younger than our usual customers but it’s great at bringing in the footfall and that helps us all in the end.”

In King Edward Street itself other businesses including Samsara and Forbidden Planet from the Prospect Centre, Dinsdales Joke & Trick Shop of Hepworth Arcade, and Lost City Adventure Golf from St Stephen’s operated pop-up stalls for the day.

Avant Skills Academy and ResQ contact centre also joined in the fun with staff dressing up as superheroes and entertaining the public with games and giveaways.

Kathryn said: “The level of business involvement is increasing with every event. That’s fantastic to see and it can only help us create more opportunities for everybody with our future events.”