British High Streets: from Crisis to Recovery
“There are no hard times for good ideas”
according to American retail magnate Harry Selfridge, and the latest report
from the University of Southampton shows that the British High Street has been
innovating and developing during the recession.
diverse, attractive and imaginative high streets are crucial to every tourism
destination. VisitEngland research reveals that retail spend
during UK holidays is worth £9,121m and 17% of the overall holiday spend. Retail
provides wet weather activities but run-down boarded-up shops detract visitors,
giving an unsafe and unwelcoming impression of the resort.
coastal areas often relies on tourism, whether boutiques or bucket-and-spade souvenir
shops, independents, familiar high street brands or gift shops attached to
attractions. Tourism boosts shopping numbers during the season, and provides
new and fresh marketing opportunities.
High Streets have been through a crisis: 75,000 employees were affected by the
collapse of 54 retailers in 2008. Between 2007-2013 25,000 stores and 223,347 employees were affected by store
units rose from 7% (2008), peaking at 16.3% (2012), falling back to 13% by
April 2014. 2006-12 saw business rates rise 29% and rents climb 4%, compared to
the RPI rise of 22%, acknowledged by the government introducing rate relief on business
shopping remains a threat, changing habits and presenting new challenges. 38m
adults (76%) in GB were online daily, 7 out of 10 using a mobile/portable
device. Online sales are forecast to be 20-30% by 2020.
population is growing, aging and more ethnically diverse
2015 – more than half of retail spend comes from the 45+ age group. They have
increasingly active lifestyles and require leisure services tailored to their
diversity impact is under-researched, often showing lower cost labour, street
markets, strong word-of-mouth and social networking.
work of Business Improvement Districts and
the changes (rises and falls) in the different categories of shop are
recommendations for high street success:
mix of shops, avoiding over-representation of one type
car park access
of safety (especially as consumers look to later opening hours) and public
transport options throughout the whole day and evening periods.
customer service, exceeding expectations and social experiences
of a range of food outlets, places to eat and socialise, alongside non-retail attractions
such as open spaces and gardens
of information - opening hours, events, bargains, atmosphere and markets complemented
by free wifi, website/apps, coordinated marketing messages and good signage
pedestrian friendly areas work better than linear (especially featuring empty
and read the whole University of Southampton Report, click here.
You can also view the University of Southampton’s press release here