News that high streets are dying with shops lying empty and imminent collapse of major retailers would suggest that local authorities are unaware of what is happening in their towns. The reality is that many councils up and down country are already creatively leading on the revitalisation of their town centres, working closely with stakeholders.
Town centres need to find a new purpose and a balance of businesses that reflect the changing consumer habits and embrace new trends. So rather than retailers focusing on CVAs (company voluntary arrangements) and going further down this route, as these agreements will inevitably only provide a short-term solution for retailers that are destined to fail anyway; retailers must evolve now to ensure they are a part of the future high street. Local authorities have to step up and re-imagine our future town centres and plan for what our future communities need to drive the local economy focusing on:
Successful councils are already achieving this through long-term master planning and place brand strategies to assist existing businesses and the health of the high street, but the key to survival and the revival of our high streets is to also engage with current stakeholders understanding their problems and embracing digital technology.
At Retail Inspired we are able to work with local authorities, supporting their lead in town centre engagement to build trusting relationships with stakeholders and taking a broad perspective, joining up the interests together to help create a destination that speaks to the consumer. Innovative and interactive projects working closely with all partners. We have extensive retail experience to encourage this joined up approach and ensure councils really understand retail too and the importance of the leisure element required to encourage consumers. Embracing digital, supporting existing businesses and encouraging inward investment.
It is important that local authorities take the lead and work across the local government infrastructure including rates, planning, public transport, parking, thus strategically coordinating with the internal and external partners to achieve trust and results.
As we have written about in previous articles, our high streets are not dead they are merely evolving but in many cases too quickly for local authorities and retailers to keep up with the changes. Customers will always want to shop but they are doing it differently now and we all need to adapt remaining agile to secure the future of our places. There are so many concepts and projects that can be delivered on a local level with one aim which is to support the evolving retail landscape.
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