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News - 4 September 2013

Another day, another report on the future of retail

Hot on the heels of Mary Portas, Bill Grimsey, the boss of the failed DIY chain Focus, has produced a report on where retailing is going wrong in advance of a book launch [Sold Out] on the same subject.

The report advocates embracing radical change in the nature and make-up of High Streets which will inevitably mean that some of them cease to be shopping destinations.

It cites 40,000 empty shops in the UK and 20,000 retail businesses at serious risk of failure and more-or-less advocates letting them fail.

Inevitably it offers advice to ministers and government departments about what should be done and has a list of 31 recommendations for councils to make "high streets the centrepiece of their local economic vision".  H

ighly interventionist suggestions like this probably won't fit well with the current political direction of travel in the opposite direction.
Large retailers like John Lewis and Carphone Warehouse have blasted the proposal for retail and leisure chains with a turnover of over £10m to pay 0.25% of their 2014 turnover as a one-off levy into a local economic development fund.
Like the Portas Review, and
drawing on previous thinking and lobbying from the likes of the British Retail Consortium,
 he has also called for a freeze on business rates and the creation of town centre teams that would run the area like a business, much along the lines of the Government’s current 
Future High Streets Forum
He also calls for a freeze on car parking charges and ‘networked’ digitally reactive high streets.

Click here to download Grimsey Review

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