Government to target UK inner cities in retail push

Retailers are to be encouraged back into inner-city neighbourhoods as part of the Government's drive to combat social exclusion and unemployment.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has backed plans to channel retail development into under-served parts of the UK.

Prescott threw his weight behind Business in the Community's campaign at an 11 Downing Street summit attended by top retailers and property developers, as well as Chancellor Gordon Brown and Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

At the meeting, Experian unveiled research identifying 12 deprived areas of England that have untapped investment potential for retailers. The consultant made real business cases for as many as 30 supermarkets and other major retail developments in these areas.

The 12 under-served locations, shortlisted from a total of 88 deprived neighbourhoods, are Barnsley, Bolsover, Bradford, Haringey, Lewisham, Oldham, Salford, Sedgefield, Hastings, Waltham Forest, Dudley and Luton.

Prescott said: 'Nowhere should be seen as an investment no-go area. Attracting investment to these areas will create a virtuous circle of increased local employment and sustainable regeneration.'

Experian has identified the potential retail investment opportunities by finding gaps between retail provision and consumer demand in each of the locations, and comparing these against similar retail centres in terms of profile and expenditure.

Experian retail planning director Martin Davies said: 'Now we have identified the 12 locations, our next priority is to help persuade retailers and local authorities of the real business opportunities.'