Manchester retailers have collectively decided to stay open until 8.00 p.m. to accommodate what they perceive to be a permanent shift in the time of day when consumers want to spend their money. Is it likely to happen in Brighton?
Manchester city centre shops have teamed up with the city centre management company to launch a campaign called Bags More Time, which aims to both promote evening shopping and stimulate the night time economy.
The scheme was hatched after figures from the British Retail Consortium showed that Manchester shops benefited from a 7% increase in turnover in the run-up to Christmas and a fifth of the turnover was between 6.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m.
Manchester is a big city retail destination unlike Brighton, which lacks the big name fascias that could make it a regional centre. Our retail offer is dominated by Churchill Square, which already stays open until 7.00 p.m. and the independent sector which rarely stays open beyond 5.30 p.m. even at Christmas!
That doesn’t mean to say that the independent sector has not responded to the changing habits of shoppers. Indeed many shops in the North Laine and The Lanes do not open before 10.00 a.m. because there is little demand from customers but they have not stretched their closing times at the other end of the day.
The reason is probably a combination of factors including the fact that most small shops are run by owner/managers that often work six or seven days a week. Consequently there is a reluctance to increase an already heavy workload with voluntary overtime at the end of the day.
The much hyped 24 hour supermarket shopping that started in the early 2000s in the UK never became the big thing that many predicted and there are still only a handful that operate for the full 24 hours.
There is certainly a changing pattern of shopping activity amongst consumers just as there is a changing pattern of activity for the night time economy but Manchester may also find that the experience from the Christmas trading period, when people have a lot of demands on their time, does not translate into a permanent campaign.
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British Retail Consortium