A £675m fund to help our struggling high streets

Local councils are being invited to bid for a share in a authorities fund prepare to help reinvigorate the nation’s struggling high streets.

The £675m fund was launched by chancellor Philip Hammond in October’s Budget nonetheless the bidding course of opens at current.

It comes after the report of a panel led by Sir John Timpson, which often known as for a community-driven methodology to transforming the high streets into “community hubs”.

Communities minister Jake Berry said: “We all know high streets are altering, we won’t conceal from this actuality.

“But we’re determined to assure they proceed to sit on the coronary coronary heart of our communities for generations to come.

“To do this we have to support investment in infrastructure, boosting local economies and ensuring people are able to get the most out of their local high streets.”

One of the first challenges for high streets is on-line buying: in 2000, it accounted for decrease than 1% of retail product sales whereas in August 2018 practically a fifth of all retail product sales handed off on-line.

Projects for these using the fund may embrace supporting regeneration, reconfiguring space, rising the number of properties for youthful and former people, further work space and decreasing car congestion.

It caps off a horrible 12 months for retailers, with Poundworld and Maplin amongst these moving into administration, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams deciding to shut outlets and Superdry, Carpetright and Card Factory amongst these issuing income warnings.

Nearly 150,000 jobs have been axed from the sector this 12 months and, with shoppers spooked by Brexit uncertainty, there are fears subsequent 12 months might be not so much higher.

Worried retailers even launched Boxing Day product sales early this 12 months, with Debenhams offering up to 50% off some objects sooner than its typical Boxing Day sale and John Lewis starting its clearance on-line for some merchandise at 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Boxing Day presents at Marks & Spencer had been on-line at midnight on Christmas Day and supermarkets had been moreover in early, with Sainsbury’s, as an example, decreasing electrical objects from 23 December.

Figures current footfall was up in the previous couple of days sooner than Christmas, with 27.4% further journeys made to non-food outlets throughout the UK on Christmas Eve this 12 months in distinction to closing, in accordance to Ipsos Retail Performance.

Sportswear and outside leisure outlets seen the largest obtain on closing 12 months, up 44.1%, adopted by division and primary choice outlets, up 30.4%.

Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, said: “The surge in shoppers to stores seen over the final few days before Christmas will give some solace to those in the sector, when they sit down to enjoy their roast turkeys today, after such a torrid year.”

But, in truth, an increase throughout the number of shoppers would not primarily suggest an increase throughout the amount spent – for these figures, we are able to have to anticipate the numerous outlets’ financial outcomes at quite a few events subsequent 12 months.

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