High streets across the UK are struggling. With retail vacancy rates at 11.2% at the end of 2017 and online retail spend forecast to rise to 18.5% by 2022 (Savills and LDC), bricks and mortar retailers are really feeling the strain. Although Haslemere is fortunate enough to be bucking this trend with retail vacancy rates of only 3 – 5%, many retailers are under significant cost pressures.
- The High Street is not dead, but will be different. Successful high streets will offer more than just shopping. They will be places in which consumers want to spend time because they provide a mix of leisure, entertainment, cultural, educational as well as retail activities.
- The need for flexibility in use will create big challenges for our local authorities, town councils, landlords, retailers and residents.
- Against the backdrop of struggling national chains, bank branch and other closures, the role of independent retailers and innovative users of space will be particularly important.
But most of all we need a plan!
This planning for a brighter future for our high street starts on the 20th September. We need as many constructive ideas as possible, so this meeting is open to Chamber members AND guests. Click here to reserve your place.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr Christoph Teller – Professor of Retailing and Marketing and Head of Department of Marketing and Retail Management at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey. Dr Teller will talk about the results of his work into shopper motivation and plans to conduct a detailed analysis of shopper views on a local town centre.
Haslemere has the opportunity to collaborate with Dr Teller on his research, potentially providing us opportunity to discover why consumers like Haslemere and Wey Hill and what we need to do to ensure this continues.
In addition, we will be sharing plans for an exciting re-development of the Chamber’s website to drive online searches to our own local retailers.
Our agenda for the evening is:
- 18:30 Welcome – Why we are here, what we are seeking to achieve – Craig McGowan, President Haslemere and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce
- 35 Future of the High Street: Crisis what crisis?
- Background, general trends, what might things look like – Ian Rowley, Haslemere Bookshop – 10 min
- High Street and Town Centre Attractiveness; what matters to shoppers? – Dr Christoph Teller – 30 min
- Current research
- Possible collaboration to better understand Haslemere shoppers
- Discussion/ Q&A – 15 min
- 30 Website; showing off what we have – Innovation Visual
- Plans and objectives, why, where we are going
- Short demo
- 55 Wrap up – Craig McGowan
- 20:00 Finish
Dr Christoph Teller – Biography
Professor of Retailing and Marketing and Head of Department of Marketing and Retail Management at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey
His recent work has raised his sights from the single store to try to answer one of the oldest questions in retail research: ‘Why do people shop where they do?’. In other words what is it that makes a city centre, high street, mall or online service delivery network more or less attractive?
To date this collaborative research with the Aston University has been based on the views of a representative sample of over 1,000 UK shoppers. This has identified the most important overall ‘attractiveness factors’ – from, for example, tenant mix, access and parking. The next stage of work is to measure what makes specific retail locations (un)attractive.