Innovative thinking needed over stark high street crisis - The Yorkshire Post says

What was already an existential crisis for the nation’s high streets has been brought into stark focus as a result of the pandemic.

High streets were deserted during the height of the lockdown. photo: Joe Giddens/PA

A total shutdown, for several weeks, of both the hospitality sector and non-essential retail predictably hit town and city centres hard and, even as lockdown restrictions ease, the picture remains worrying.

Independent businesses in office districts say they are continuing to suffer from the impact of large numbers of people still working at home and Ipsos retail performance data, published at the end of last month, found the average weekly footfall in the UK to be down by nearly two thirds overall in June, once stores had begun to re-open.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Whilst the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is seemingly drawing diners back to eateries – more than ten million meals were bought under the scheme last week – the true impact of this is yet to emerge. And news this week that the UK economy is in recession, after GDP shrunk by a fifth in the second quarter of this year, will do little to alleviate concerns.

Several firms including River Island have announced job losses since stores reopened. Photo:Yui Mok/PA Wire

Read more: How Yorkshire high streets can be at heart of our recovery – Simon Clarke

However, there have been some amazing examples of self-starting and creative thinking throughout the crisis. Take, for example, the many restaurants that adapted quickly to set up new takeaway services so they could continue to reach customers – and, in some cases, just to survive. Such innovative approaches are needed now more than ever.

Giles Taylor of KPMG is right to highlight the need for businesses and civic leaders to work together. For, whilst it is understandable that caution is being exercised over workplace returns – and many employees have felt the benefits of working from home, not least due to the lack of any commute – collaboration is indeed key to striking a delicate balance that will enable a more flexible working world without damaging the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors that are the lifeblood of our high streets.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor