Mintel's Retail Director Richard Perks responds to Portas Review

December 13, 2011

Responding to findings from the Portas Review, Richard Perks, commented:

“Portas has 28 detailed proposals, but look behind that and the thrust of the report is very sensible. Granted there’s the dose of hyperbole that just seems unavoidable these days – the high street is certainly not in terminal decline, it may not even be in crisis. What’s happening at the moment is a contraction which is almost entirely due to the recession. And in tough times that’s what happens. The vacancy rates we hear so much about are mostly in secondary and tertiary sites because when high streets contract there is a general move to primary sites.

But people still want to shop – that’s why major shopping centres are so successful. And what is a development like Westfield’s at Stratford but a brand new high street?

So that is why Mary Portas is absolutely spot on when she says that high streets that want to survive must invest. Ideas such as more markets are excellent, because they add more excitement to the high street. No-one owes a retailer a living. No-one owes a high street a living. Consumers go to where they are best served – and that is as true of retailers as it is of high streets. A high street that gets no investment has no future. “

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