Date: 30th October 2023


Stockton’s iconic outdoor market has won a national award after being recognised for bucking national retail and industry trends.

The market secured the large market achievement award at the 2023 Market Awards in October.

The market team at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council were praised for ‘standing apart as an example of success and achievement’ by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).

Affectionally known as ‘The Queen of the North’, the market was commended by judges for going against current industry trends, celebrating impressive increases in stall occupancy, trader numbers and young traders. A new ‘Taster Market Fridays’ initiative was also highlighted as ‘a beacon for aspiring traders’ to welcome new businesses.

Compared to national NABMA data Stockton Market is performing well:

  • Stall occupancy is currently 84 per cent, higher than the national average of 72 per cent.
  • New traders are up 12 per cent on the previous year.
  • 20 per cent of market traders are under the age of 40, compared to 8 per cent nationally

The Council operates markets in Stockton, Billingham and Thornaby six days a week, alongside maintaining an active social media presence on various platforms.

The markets currently offer incentives such as four weeks free rent and start-up guidance to support new businesses, as well as ‘Taster Market Fridays’ where traders are offered free rent up to eight weeks plus further reduced rates.

There’s also a programme of additional market events and the team have taken a pivotal role in driving town centre regeneration, where the market remains at the heart of the Council’s future plans to transform Stockton Town Centre.

Councillor Nigel Cooke, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the team at Stockton Market have received this prestigious recognition for their continued hard work.

“Their commitment has made them forward thinkers in the market industry and the recent positive figures for Stockton Market speak for themselves.

“It’s fantastic that our markets are bucking the trend and leading the way in terms of support for traders and also provide a great retail experience for customers in the heart of the town centre.”

David Preston, Chief Executive of NABMA, said: “It was recognised that this small market team in managing and operating a large market operation, embraces hard work as their guiding principle.

“Their dedication and diligence has seen Stockton Market go against current industry trends with impressive increases in stall occupancy, numbers and young traders.”

“In the landscape of market management, the team stood apart as an example of success achievement.”

For more information on Stockton-on-Tees Markets and how to become a market trader,

Sam Withers