Wednesday, December 14, 2011

News: Portas references Rotherham in retail review


Leading retail marketing consultant, Mary Portas, has published a government-commissioned review into the nation's High Street.

The Review sets out her vision to breathe economic and community life back into our high streets.

It makes ambitious recommendations on what can be done – by government, local authorities and business – to help high streets deliver something new.

It follows a number of visits by Portas to town centres around the country, including Rotherham, where she spoke to high street businesses, local authorities and shoppers in September.

Mary Portas said: "My goal is to breathe economic and community life back into our High Streets and town centres. I want to see all our High Streets bustling with people, services, and jobs. They should be vibrant places that people choose to visit. They should be destinations. Anything less is a wasted opportunity."

The recommendations of the report aim to: get town centres running like businesses, get the basics right to allow businesses to flourish, level the playing field, define landlords roles and responsibilities, give communities a greater say.

Specific recommendations include parking schemes, freeing up red tape, restricting out-of-town developments and supporting independent shops.

Another focus is using indoor and outdoor markets to bring a town to life by providing the opportunities and spaces to give entrepreneurial talent a chance to develop and flourish.

Portas said: "I saw for myself what a bustling, lively market can do for a town centre when I visited Rotherham. On a market stall people can try out their ideas and get their business booming without too much upfront cost.

"And it's great for our town centres too, bringing in fresh ideas and products and preserving our nation’s cultural heritage to boot."

Rotherham's Shop Local scheme was also referenced in new government-commissioned research on "Understanding High Street Performance" as an initiative to boost local loyalty through rewards and discounts.

With over 100 town centre shops signed up to provide discounts and offers to cardholders since its inception last year, the Shop Local Scheme is a significant success with over 11,000 loyalty card holders.

The Government will now review the recommendations and will publish a response next spring.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: RMBC


davidA,  December 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM  

Not a lot of imagination there, Mary. I think have have seen all of that suggested in the letters page of the Advertiser over a very long period of time. Having stood as a market trader in the farmers market in the past, I could tell Mary that new ideas don't make up for the lack of money in people's pockets or competition from Meadowhall. All shops are chasing the same pound in a tighter market.

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