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Asics reported to have halted supplies to UK independent sports shops.

4 Jul 2023

The Guardian has reported independent sports retailers saying their businesses are under threat after Asics said it was cutting off supply to hundreds of small UK outlets, joining Nike and... Read more…

Half of young European consumers find it acceptable to buy fakes.

4 Jul 2023

A new study on the perception of consumers towards intellectual property published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has found that although 80% of Europeans believe... Read more…

Elmy Cycles featured in Daily Express ahead of Independents’ Day weekend.

29 Jun 2023

With this Saturday and Sunday marking Independents’ Day weekend, the culmination of the annual campaign to promote independent retailers around the UK, ACT member Elmy Cycles in Ipswich... Read more…

“AI has the potential to revolutionise the way retailers operate,” says Theo Paphitis

28 Jun 2023

Former Dragon Theo Paphitis has predicted retail will be revolutionised by AI technology.
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The Association of Convenience Stores publish their Crime Report of 2023

23 Jun 2023

The report estimates that there were over 1.1m incidents of theft reported last year. The most commonly stolen items as reported by retailers are meat, alcohol and confectionery –... Read more…

How fine food retail can be part of the solution to ultra-processed food

19 Jun 2023

Scientists and researchers have compelling data, showing ultra-processed food could be responsible for several health conditions – a recent piece in Speciality Food Magazine set out to... Read more…

PayPoint launches digital shopper marketing platform

19 Jun 2023

Retailers will be able to drive customer spend, digital media use, push new product development and increase sales and distribution, claims PayPoint, following the launch of a new digital... Read more…

High streets of the future will need to think beyond retail, says new report

19 Jun 2023

Just 42% of people in the UK rate their local high street as good or very good, according to the latest Legal & General Rebuilding Britain Index.
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Stellar line-up for Independent Bookshop Week

19 Jun 2023

A stellar line-up of authors have been taking part in this week’s Independent Bookshop Week 2023 with the likes of Ann Cleeves, AJ Pearce, Danielle Brown, poet laureate Simon Armitage and... Read more…

Bira calls for level playing field as Amazon UK Services pays zero corporation tax again

8 Jun 2023

Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association, has expressed its concern and frustration after it was revealed that Amazon UK Services had, for the second consecutive year, paid zero... Read more…

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Local leaders claim up to 40% of shops must be repurposed in next five years

Posted on in Business News

Up to 40% of shops will need to be reinvented into anything from go-kart tracks to food markets over the next five years or “wither on the vine” as demand for physical retail wanes, local leaders have claimed.

The need to repurpose retail space was named as the biggest concern for local authorities, landlords, developers and other town centre management professionals as part of a survey by their trade body Revo and the consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).

empty shop

The research showed 61% of those surveyed believed that between 20% and 40% of retail space needs to be reinvented in the next five years for leisure, hospitality, health or civic use, with 12% of those surveyed claiming even more space than that will need to be repurposed.

The issue ranked higher than inflation and a recession, the business rates burden and competition between physical stores and online shopping.

“There is a danger that if our towns don’t transform then some will wither on the vine before the decade is out,” said Vivienne King, the chief executive of Revo, speaking to The Guardian.

Steve Norris, head of regeneration and planning at LSH, said: “This shows the scale of the challenge town centres are facing and the radical surgery required.”

However, Norris said it was not “all doom and gloom for town centres” as “we are entering into one of the most exciting and creative periods in their long history as it is not just about retail anymore. It could be a town centre renaissance”.

At a recent conference delegates discussed bringing homes, offices, food and drink venues, entertainment and markets into space no longer required for shops.
Green space and more attractive spaces where local people can spend time – without feeling the need to spend money – were also seen as an important part of reviving places that have taken a battering from the rise of online shopping, the Covid pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

The disappearance of large store chains – including Debenhams, BHS, Topshop – and closure of important city centre sites by House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis have left many local authorities with space that is difficult to fill with more retail.

Department stores are being reinvented as student lecture halls, hotels, shared offices, go-kart tracks and indoor food markets in a bid to bring new life on to high streets and shopping malls. However, half of local authorities who took part in the survey said they had scaled back or put on hold their plans until the economy improved and 2% said they had abandoned them completely. A fifth of private companies questioned said their development plans were on hold, just over a fifth said they had scaled back while 3% they had ditched a project.

According to analysts at the Local Data Company, redevelopment reached a new high, with 10,739 units repurposed in 2022, compared with 9,139 in 2021 and 7,307 in 2019 before the pandemic. About 15% of UK retail sites lay vacant last year.

LDC found that a fifth of Debenhams stores, which were closed in 2021 after the department store went into administration, have been repurposed while almost half – 48.5% – remain empty.

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