Most readers of this news item will be aware of the recent government commissioned report by Mary Portas, popularly known as the TV Queen of Shops. Perhaps they have noted her twenty-eight recommendations. If they have not read the full report and have an interest in the future of the high street then they should do so. Less publicity has been given to a much more detailed analysis of the current state of the high street by Genecon LLP and Partners also government commissioned and published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills. Both reports can be found on the BIS website.
According to Ms Portas “Our high streets can be lively, dynamic, exciting and social places that give a sense of belonging and trust to a community. Something which, as the recent riots clearly demonstrated, has been eroded and in some instances eradicated.” So she sees the preservation of the high street as a means of enhancing community life something very much in tune with the Prime Minister’s concept of the Big Society.
There is no doubt whatever that the traditional high street is in decline. But painful though this will be for some, including landlords, does it matter and anyway can the decline be reversed? The big superstores are often held out as the villains but the truth is that more and more people find it increasingly convenient to shop on line. Anyhow the very success of the giant traders suggests that most of us as individual shoppers prefer to shop there rather than supporting the local traders however much we bemoan their disappearance.
At Blanchards Bailey we have a particular interest in the future of the high street acting as we do for many local retail businesses and other traders with a high street base and for landlords many of whom not only lose their income when the property becomes vacant but also face having to pay the rates.
So what can be done? We will be returning to this topic before long so watch this space.