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Centre for Cities report: Too many shops in struggling city centres

Tuesday 26 June 2018

A CENTRE for Cities report into the future of Britain’s urban areas has highlighted the issues facing many of our urban areas. Retail expert Dr Gordon Fletcher of the University of Salford Business School gives his take on the future of our city centres.

The report highlights places such as Blackpool and Wigan as having particularly poor rates of shop vacancies.

Dr Fletcher said: "Today's Centre for Cities report provides further evidence that UK high streets require rapid and radical change. The report finds an emphasis on retail within "struggling city centres" while a greater mixture of activities are a hallmark the "successful city centres". 

“The evidence from recent high street failures suggests there is an increasing consumer resistance to travelling up and down endless aisles of goods. Further examination of the customer experience inside retail outlets is required to understand why retail dominated centres are struggling. 

“Retail itself should not be condemned but rather the current model preferred by the large chains for their high street retail experience should be questioned. Discovery, entertainment and variety must become part of the round-the-clock experience of city centres. 

“The presence of residential development in the city centre - which the report notes lends to a successful city centre - only further emphasises the importance of creating a balance between day-time and night-time economies that provide a range of opportunities that extend far beyond the simple buying of goods.”

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Sam Wood

0161 295 5361