Accessories Amazon Asda Christmas Expansion & Franchise Fashion HR News High Street John Lewis London Marks & Spencer Media News Results Retail Retail and Consumer Industry Retail news Sainsbury's Store Tesco UK brand china consumer deal deals and rumours department department stores e-commerce electricals expansion fashion news food grocer group launch luxury morrisons my online online retail people profit property retail property retailer sale sales supermarket waitrose
BRC blasts Gove and Portas Pilots in call to arms Wednesday, 27th June 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
“We need government to stand up and actually do something positive” head of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Rob Templeman told delegates at the Retail Symposium 2012 on Tuesday, as reported by Reuters.
In something of a call to arms for the retail industry, Templeman criticised the government for failing to do enough to improve the state of the high streets, adding that the Portas Pilot towns “lacked bold vision”.
According to the chairman, radical action is needed including the creation of enterprise zones, the compulsory purchase of derelict stores and rent-free deals.
"We all want our high streets to be regenerated, we want them to become thriving places that customers want to go to, but it needs bold action,” Templeman, as reported by Reuters, told the crowd.
The former chief executive of Debenhams went on to add that although the government-sponsored initiative laid out by Mary Portas was “positive in parts”, it wouldn’t do enough to alter the course of the ailing high streets;
"When you propose projects with 11.5 million pounds of funding across 12-15 towns, that is not much good when you have just charged retailers 350 million pounds extra for rates," he added.
"We need government to stand up and actually do something positive about getting growth," Templeman said.
With around two-thirds of Britain’s GDP generated by consumer spending, Templeman said the government should provide more help for its struggling retailers.
Portas Pilots chooses 12 towns for rejuvenation Monday, 28th May 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
The first 12 towns to become Portas Pilots were unveiled on Monday, as Mary Portas admits she has been “deeply touched” by the nation’s reaction to the initiative.
Of the 370 towns that applied, only 12 will get to share the £1.2 million granted to the first round of Portas Pilots scheme, following the Portas' review of the high streets last year.
The twelve winning towns are: Bedford, Bedfordshire; Croydon, Greater London; Dartford, Kent; Bedminster, Bristol; Liskeard, Cornwall; Margate, Kent; Market Rasen, Lincolnshire; Nelson, Lancashire; Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland; Stockport, Greater Manchester; Stockton on Tees, Teesside and Wolverhampton, West Midlands.
Each town will be provided with tailored support to help them spend the grants on rejuvenating their high streets and town centres.
Local government minister Grant Shapps said there would be a second batch of 12 pilots announced by the end of July, along with three more to be funded by the Greater London Authority.
"The best local high streets offer more than simply shopping - they are the beating heart of their neighbourhoods: places to meet, work, relax and come together as a community," Shapps said.
"It's why this competition to become a Portas pilot has captured the imagination of the nation, with communities across the country uniting to support their high streets."
Having become somewhat of a figurehead for the battle high streets are facing in the economic downturn, Portas said she had been “deeply touched by the quality and creativity of the bids and the momentum Britain's first town teams have generated in just a few short weeks.”
“It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there."
“Portas Pilots have potential, but risk failure through under-funding” Helen Dickinson responds to Govt rescue plan Wednesday, 8th February 2012
Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG, this afternoon responded to the announcement that the Government plans to share £1 million across 28 of the UK’s most “unused, unloved and under-valued” town and city centres.
Although Dickinson described the effort as “laudable”, she stated that “given the scale of the challenges facing the modern high street, a share of £1 million will not even scratch the surface."
“If the pilot is to work then the source and magnitude of proper funding must be addressed to give these local communities the ability to make real changes and implement and experiment with innovative ideas. I think a high street can be made the focus of a town but only if it can provides a pleasurable experience that consumers are prepared to travel for. It must offer more than just products that can be bought faster and at a competitive price by time poor customers on the internet or in an out of town shopping centre with easy parking. To do this proper investment will be needed, which is absent from this plan.
“However, Portas has got one thing right. At the heart of the Portas Pilots is the understanding that key stakeholders in the community must work together to submit their vision of how their high street could be transformed, or risk losing out on the funding.
“Applications must demonstrate strong support from the local community and a wide range of local partners, such as the local council, landlords, shopkeepers and MPs.
“If Portas can harness the creative potential of the local communities, and help the government work out where the cash will come from, then this could be a first step to bringing some of Britain’s high streets back from the brink.”
Read the full statement at Helen Dickinson’s blog for KPMG here.
Government launches “Portas Pilots” Monday, 6th February 2012
The Government today launched a £1 million competition to help revive troubled British high streets on the back of the Portas review.
The review contained 28 recommendations to save “unused, unloved and under-valued” town and city centres.
Mary Portas and Grant Shapps, local government minister, will pick 12 towns to become “Portas Pilots”, taking a share of the £1 million prize. Towns and cities that are picked will have to show top turnaround plans for the high street.
Shapps said: “Today I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become “Portas Pilots” – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.
Portas said: “I hope my Review has inspired people with another vision of tomorrow where our high streets are re-imagined as destinations for socializing, culture, wellbeing, learning as well as shopping. I want the first twelve Town Teams to challenge the old ways of working, experiment, take risks and reaffirm their place at the heart of a community.
“A place we all want to be and can be proud of.”