Retail veteran says plans to save high streets are failing
Monday 04 August 2014
The veteran retailer Bill Grimsey has accused the Government of “over-promising and under-delivering” on its plans to revive Britain’s high streets.
The former boss of Iceland and Wickes said the Coalition’s flagship proposals were failing after it emerged that there are now 53 more empty shops in the towns designated “Portas Pilots” .
The pilots, set up in the wake of a government review by Mary Portas, were intending to rejuvenate high streets, but it has since been discovered that several towns spent the extra cash on advisers and bizarre items including Peppa Pig and gorilla costumes.
Mr Grimsey, who has written an alternative high streets review, called on the new high streets minister, Penny Mordaunt, to address the major problems facing high-street retailers.
He said: “Ministers should stop exaggerating progress while tinkering in the margins.
“Let’s just look at the facts. There are over 40,000 empty shops in the UK, a figure that’s remained stubbornly high for years. High-street footfall is down on last year and retail insolvencies have just hit a five-year high. The British Independent Retailers Association has also reported that sales are down for small shops this year. Does this really point towards a high-street resurgence?”
The businessman, who was appointed a high-street advisor to Labour, called on Ms Mordaunt to push through her own suggestion of turning town centres into community hubs.
He said: “For many high streets this is the only chance they have of survival. They will have to look beyond retail where leisure, culture and health, for example, alongside much-needed housing, is the only way to bring back the footfall to support shops.”
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...