A new Government-funded toolkit designed to boost high streets based on their ‘personalities’ launches tomorrow (Wednesday).
Funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and delivered by national retail pathfinder Gloucestershire LEP, the report aims to help town centres identify what type of destination they are and what they need to do to improve it.
Called ‘Successful Town Centres – developing effective strategies’, the report puts town centres into four different groups: community-focused entrepreneurs, sustainable destinations, specialists and global celebrities. This is designed to help retail communities better understand their town centre and inform their future vision.
Former Supergroup chief operating officer Diane Savory, who now chairs the Gloucestershire LEP, said: “Town centres might have an idea on the perception but it may not be completely right for their personality so they may need to rethink the emphasis.”
SuperGroup head of property Nigel Jobson, who is chair of Gloucestershire LEP’s Retail Sector group, helped feed into the report, alongside the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Town & City Management.
High streets have been struggling in recent years as shoppers move online and the economic downturn squeezes the level of disposable income.
Minister of state for business and Enterprise Michael Fallon said: “A successful retail sector needs thriving high streets and town centres - and successful high streets and town centres need a thriving retail sector.
“That is why BIS supported this work to help towns across the country find new ways to keep their high street at the heart of local economies.”
The report says town centres are skewed towards the daytime economy and should look at operating on more of a 24-hour basis.
Savory added that as well as buy-in from all levels of the community, town centres need support from central government to survive.
The Government has been working to help struggling high streets after commissioning a report produced by Mary Portas and providing funding to carry out the majority of her 28 recommendations.