New figures showing falling footfall on the nation’s High Streets during December – the 13th month in a row of declines – and warnings that retailers can no longer rely on Christmas trading to make up for reduced revenue during the rest of the year sadly come as little surprise.
But they provide further evidence of the urgent need for High Streets to evolve if they are to have a viable future. The ever-increasing dominance of online shopping is highlighted by shopper numbers also dropping at shopping centres and retail parks.
The recent recommendations of businessman Sir John Timpson as he headed a Government-appointed panel on the future of High Streets offer some grounds for optimism. He said ‘Upside Down Government’ in which local leaders rather than Whitehall take charge of changes should make more town centres ‘a place where people want to be.’
Community-led solutions are the best conceivable way to save small businesses.