Retail industry says it’s time to ‘Wake up and save the high street’

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You’ve heard the saying ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ but have you ever heard ‘Wake up and save the high street’? Well, that’s exactly what the retail industry has urged the government to do following its inquiry into the future of the high street.  

From putting pressure on ministers to reducing business rates and transforming towns into industry hubs, the high street isn’t going down without a fight.

Here are some recent highlights from the rally of independent retailers, high street champions and MP’s working to revive our high streets.

MPs urge ministers to assess specific proposals for reforming business rates

MP’s have urged reforms of business rates to revive the UK high street. They’ve called for ministers to assess specific proposals for a ‘wide-reform’ of business rates by the autumn.

This is welcome news following recent evidence we gathered from the high street.  Our research found that over 20% of consumers think that reduced business rates would have the biggest impact on the high street’s success.  

High streets minister Jake Berry said:

“We know high streets are the backbone of our economy and a crucial part of our local communities, and we want to see them thrive – both now and in the future.

That’s why the Government has stepped up, putting a plan for the high street at the centre of the Budget backed by £675m cash investment to ensure that local high streets are able to adapt and thrive for generations to come and establishing a High Streets Task Force to support local leadership.”

Read the full story at LocalGov

High street ‘not dead’ and could be industry hub, says report

A recent report from The Centre for Cities claims that the UK high street “is not dead” and struggling town and city centres could be transformed by becoming industry hubs instead of places to shop. The new research refutes claims that a crisis in bricks-and-mortar retail is killing them off.

This rings true when comparing it to our recent study that found only 29% of people go to the high street to shop. 27% of people asked are visiting the high street to simply ‘poke around’, 19% visit to socialise and 14% to eat.

Andrew Carter, CEO of Centre for Cities said:

“Instead of trying to replace failed shops with more retail, investors and policymakers should focus their strategies on making struggling city centres attractive places to do business and spend leisure time — not just to shop.”

Read the full story at Techregister

North East high streets independent retailers use postcards to increase footfall

Independent retailers in Gosforth have found an innovative way to direct shoppers to their store by using postcards. By distributing these postcards in shops and places of interest around Newcastle these retailers are enjoying an increase in footfall.

“It has proved a hit with consumers who now have a handy way to find independent traders in the area, many of whom get excited when they discover the unique shops on their doorstep.”

Read the full story at Chronicle Live

Five innovative tech brands trying to help out the high street

The Grocer has highlighted tech start-ups looking to leverage the power of technology to bring life back to town centres. From apps to digital payments to automated inventories, this is how five start-ups are bringing tech to town centres.

Read the full article at The Grocer

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