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News - 8 June 2011
Luke Mayhew, CEO, BRC

"Large retailers are not the enemy": BRC

The British Retail Consortium is keen to alter public perception of large retailers. These large businesses have been much vilified in the press and are thought of as the enemy within out city centres. But the BRC suggests they give much more than they are given credit for.

Chairman of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Luke Mayhew, has presented the case to the BRC Retail Symposium that multiple retailers play a central role in national and local economies and deserve to be appreciated as the most likely catalysts of high street regeneration. He is urging local authorities to focus on promoting and supporting town centres for the good of local people and businesses of all sizes.

He said, “We should celebrate small and independent shops.  But we should also appreciate large and multiple retailers, who often anchor our high streets and bring the footfall so desperately needed.

“They have managed to open new stores, attract investment and create jobs despite the downturn. To regard the success of these large national businesses as in some way sinister is ridiculous.   “Instead let’s use their growth as the catalyst to revitalise our town centres and provide the right environment for businesses of all kinds to thrive. Penalising the success of large retailers will not help their smaller retail neighbours, who depend on the footfall they draw, or their SME suppliers.”

Speaking to more than 300 delegates at the annual conference, Luke Mayhew welcomed the recent appointment of Mary Portas to carry out a high street review for the Government but he made it clear that he will challenge the review to focus on the structural and political challenges facing many local high streets.   The top three priorities for helping our town centres, as identified in the BRC’s “21st Century High Streets” report, are:  

  • keeping costs down, particularly in relation to property and planning
  • improving access for shoppers, particularly in relation to transport and parking
  • investing in town centres and proactively managing them
Brighton presents an example of how large and small businesses can work together. The recently established Business Improvement District which benefits all retailers in the BID area would not have been viable if it had not been extended to include more large and multiple retailers.

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
British Retail Consortium
Mayhew, Luke
Portas, Mary

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