Portas returns with 38 recommendations for thriving towns

Time flies when you’re having fun, right? It seems astounding that it’s now 2 and a half years since publication of the Government-commissioned Portas Review of the high street. Has it been a ‘fun’ time for independent retailers, high streets, and town centres though? And what can we learn from town teams and Portas pilots? […]

High streets’ future an international issue

A new report, The Past, Present and Futures of the High Street, concludes that “Despite the obituaries the high street is still very much alive. High streets have proved resilient, surviving centuries of social change to remain the functional centre of most towns and cities.” Looking to the future the report calls for a number […]

Consumers still loyal to high street

A study into consumer behaviour, led by Cathy Hart, senior lecturer in Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE), has revealed that despite increasing competition, town centres are still the preferred shopping destination, accounting for almost a third of all retail visits. However, competition from online retail, supermarkets and out-of-town stores is likely to […]

Future Spaces Report analysed

Another year, another high-profile report into the future of the high street.  The Future Spaces Foundation, which was established in 2013 by architecture practice Make in order to “undertake new thinking and inform the future of the spaces we live in,” has produced its inaugural report ‘The Future High Street.’ The report of course follows […]

Many shops alienating disabled customers

A new report has found that many high street shops are alienating their disabled customers due to poor physical access, inadequate information, a lack of or misuse of disabled toilets and changing rooms, and even staff attitudes. And it spells out that an accessible high street is not just a (legal) right – but makes […]

Interview: Sheffield boost for independent retail

Richard Eyre, the Head of City Centre Management and Major Events at Sheffield City Centre, was my guest on today’s Business Live radio show. Footfall in Sheffield, like most locations, had declined by about 9% in 2012 – so coming up with creative and innovative ways to support retailers and generate visits to the city […]

Bill Grimsey interview: high streets for the 21st century

Bill Grimsey is the author of a recent independent review into the future of the high street, which I commented on here. He addressed the Towns Alive ’13 2-day event in Cheshire East last week, and after his plenary joined me for a short interview which was broadcast on my Business Live radio programme. Click […]

2 BBC interviews and Grimsey report analysis

Bill Grimsey’s “alternative” review of the future of the high street – produced independently of government by Bill and a team of 8 who gave their time for free; and funded (for printing and launch expenses at a Westminster reception) by Bill himself – was launched this week. The report grabbed lots of media attention […]

Bill Grimsey on high streets: bold ideas, time for action

Bill Grimsey doesn’t mince his words. We must accept that “there is already too much retail space in the UK and that bricks and mortar retailing can no longer be the anchor to create thriving high streets and town centres.” And we should “repopulate high streets and town centres as community hubs encompassing: more housing, […]

Alternative future for high street in Grimsey Review

A new review of high streets was published this week, led by Bill Grimsey, the ex-boss of Iceland, Wickes and Focus. The Grimsey review offers an “alternative” future for the high street: “Many high streets up and down the country are dying. They need to embrace radical change if they’re going to have a future.” […]