Expert panel appointed to decode the future of the high street
A panel of experts has been appointed to lead a nationwide analysis of the issues threatening the UK high street and advise on the best measures to rejuvenate it.
Announced by High Streets Minister Jake Berry on Monday, the panel will be chaired by John Timpson, chairman of multiple service retailer Timpson, and includes an array of experts who have led successful regeneration projects or driven positive impact through their own organisations. They represent the retail, property and design sectors.
“Throughout my career, high streets and city centres have continually changed to fulfill the needs of society, but the recent shift towards more out of town and online shopping threatens the future of many high streets,” said Timpson.
Indeed, a raft of high-profile retail chains are closing stores across the UK in a fight to survive amid a highly competitive market, growing overhead costs and the rise of e-commerce. Marks & Spencer, New Look, House of Fraser, Mothercare, Poundworld and Toys R Us are some of the major chains trimming down their store estate in recent months.
“People care about their local high streets because they are the centres of their community. But our high streets are changing, and the government is committed to helping communities adapt,” said Jake Berry.
“High streets of the future will still be commercial centres but consumers now look for a wider range of experiences, from leisure to health services. Our future high streets may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning.”
The panel will focus on what members of the public, particularly young people, want from the high street of the future, and work out options to ensure town centres remain vibrant.
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