A Know Your Money survey has revealed that over half of High Street businesses believe trading conditions have become more difficult over the last 5 years. Grey4Gold’s Rowland Gee contributes expert insight to the article, including:
Revise the Landlord and Tenant Act
Councils now, with very few exceptions, don’t own high street real estate, but should now be given powers under an amended or reformed Landlord and Tenant Act, to force commercial landlords to ‘release’ their properties.
There are thousands of retail start-ups with new and fresh ideas, ready to enter the market. Too many shops have been allowed to remain empty and quality places to socialise (vital), morning, afternoon and evening have virtually disappeared. Human connection is fading away. Many towns and villages are now being left without banks and post offices
Councils should be empowered (under a new statute) to inform landlords to let their long-standing vacant shops at ‘best rent’ offered.
Read more about the importance of revising the Landlord and Tenant Act
Review the timing of business rate revaluations
An important central government change would be to review the timing of business rate revaluations. Currently, the rate revaluation takes place every five years, so the synchronisation between rents being paid in a rapidly changing market and the rates payable have gone out of kilter.
Rents are falling and in many cases rates payable are exceeding the rent. Historically, rates payable were never in excess of 40% of rent.
Integrate online with bricks & mortar
The brick and mortar customer shopping experience should be as easy, smart and clear as an online retailer. b8ta is a retail company, founded in San Francisco, with a chain of retail stores which serve as hi-tech presentation centres for audio/visual, health, home, kids, lifestyle and outdoor products.
Immediately next to every item is a tablet that tells you everything you need to know about the product. If a customer then wants to buy, they can either take it away with them, have it delivered, or go to the site later and buy it then.
[Glossier’s] Floral Street, Covent Garden shop knows all too-well the importance of building connections, both online and in-store. Defined Instagram (social media is crucial for start-ups) places in the shop are mobbed.
Get all the insight and stats in Know Your Money’s The Future of the High Street article