Summit to focus on high street trade improvements

The Future High Street Summit will take place in Nottingham in March
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Local authorities are to be urged to think of ways to bring more trade to high streets, after Christmas demonstrated the change in consumer habits.

The Future High Street Summit, which will take place in March, will be running a session with industry bodies to analyse current trends on the high street.

This change in shopping habits was reflected by footfall data across the Christmas shopping period. Springboard revealed that Boxing Day morning suffered a 10.52% drop in footfall across all retail formats, while high streets experienced a devastating 21.7% fall in the first shopping hour.

Organisers are encouraging local authorities to consider more ways to attract high street shoppers.

Clare Rayner, founder of the event, said: “The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that December saw the slowest growth in sales since 2008. Retail sales like-for-like were 0.4%, although there was a small 1% rise in total sales over December 2013. Although it has been described as ‘flat but respectable’, it’s still enough to make high streets and retailers sit up and take notice.

“Towns need to understand the statistics and trends to analyse where they ‘sit’ alongside similar towns. They need to benchmark their performance in order to measure the effectiveness of their activities.

“The trends are clear: consumer habits are changing, and it’s the responsibility of the curators of our town centres to help local businesses and service providers respond to that, so that, as a collective, they can support the transformation of their high streets, ensuring they are thriving and relevant to the new consumer demands.”

The Future High Street will be held at Nottingham Conference Centre within Nottingham Trent University on 25 and 26 March.

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