With 99.7% of the total retail and hospitality market eligible to fully open up this week, it feels like we are starting to get back to some semblance of normality. However, we know the full impact of the pandemic on the retail and leisure market is not fully evident yet and the next 6-12 months will be crucial for occupiers as consumers return to stores and hospitality venues.
Town centres play an essential part in our communities and local economies, providing both a focal point for the retail and leisure landscape and a meaningful centre of gravity for local communities. There’s no doubt that in recent years changing consumer behaviour has made trading tougher for high street retailers, of which the onset of Covid-19 has only exacerbated.
There are a variety of government funding schemes that prioritise regaining the health and vibrancy of town centres that have been impacted by the pandemic, including the Levelling Up Fund, Future of the High Street Fund and Re-opening High Streets Safely Fund, providing much-needed investment to facilitate recovery and regeneration. Local authorities and councils who are able to acquire this funding will have an opportunity to think strategically about what is required to revive their high streets, creating places with unique identities that can thrive in the long term.
LDC has been supporting its client base across the local authority, council and BID space throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by delivering strategic project work, supporting a data-driven approach to recovery initiatives and investment bids for funding applications.
Critically, when considering the required criteria for many of these funding initiatives, LDC’s extensive real-time location data and insights can play a crucial part in providing both an evidence-based baseline of the retail and leisure make up of an area. We are also able to paint a detailed picture of how a place has developed and changed over time, tracking key metrics such as long and short-term vacancy rates, retailer mix and occupier openings and closures. This type of data is able to clearly demonstrate a demand for funding for local areas that have been severely impacted by the pandemic that have not yet been able to access this investment opportunity.
To support this corner of the market during this crucial period of reopening, I will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 16th June at 2pm for local authorities and BIDs to share an overview of the current state of play for UK high streets and to also share practical advice on applying and maximising value from any funding gained.
This free webinar has been designed specifically for place managers, economic development officers, economy and strategy directors, regeneration and funding managers, and anyone who is playing an active role in the recovery efforts of a town or city.
To register for this free webinar, please click the button below.