The state of Britain’s high streets
Walk down any high street in Britain and you’re like to find varying states of health. Some are weathering the storm, some are thriving, others are struggling. Many blame the changing habits of consumers, others point the finger at reduced footfall in towns and cities.
At PDQ Funding, however, we think it’s a combination of factors – but some places, like Liverpool, are bucking the trend.
Politics and the high street
News broke that the current opposition is looking to reverse “retail apocalypse”. 29,000 abandoned retail units will be brought back to life, with the intention of reviving town and city centres. Would we see the empty spaces of Jamie’s Italian, for example, brought back to life? A joined up government initiative may just work, don’t you agree?
Digital is 24 hours
You know how difficult it is to compete 24 hours a day, therefore, when your physical business, for instance, operates for finite hours. Perhaps, you could supplement your high street presence with a website and social media strategy. You are uncertain though about how much that contributes to cash flow in your shop, restaurant, café. Small businesses need to be making people aware of their high street presence, but is it the best use of resources for small businesses?
Big business failures over 9 years
2010 saw several major fashion retailers collapse – Suits You, Racing Green, Faith Shoes and Ethel Austin.
Above all, 2011 was arguably even more challenging for the high street with big names like MFI, Barratt’s Shoes, Floors 2 Go, Comet, Focus all closing doors.
More recently, companies like Blacks, Game, Phones 4 U, Jessops, Debenhams and HMV have had to restructure, with closures of JJB Sports, BHS and others.
High street success stories
It’s not just Liverpool that is seeing a high street resurgence – York and Ashford are two others, for instance. What Liverpool and other places have done so well is to reinvent their high streets. They’ve given visitors an incentive to go into city centres with food festivals, street entertainment and pop-up stores. These are some aspects you can buy into, in metropolitan areas across the U.K.
Five stores doing well
You may think we’re stating the obvious with the examples we give but it’s worth reminding you, perhaps, of success stories:
- Primark. This chain clothing store has expanded and been successful , as they’ve focused on price. They are the Lidl / Aldi of fashion. There’s more to their success, arguably, then value. Primark has invested heavily in social media and reports record sales and over 5 million Instagram followers.
Domino’s. With many chain and independent restaurants and takeaways struggling, Domino’s is resurgent. Deliveroo and Just Eat are “feeding” this company and “Shall we get a Domino’s?” has apparently become a mainstream question!
- JD Sports. Positioned as a premium athleisure outlet, above all, JD Sports’ profit soared by 33% last year. “The middle- or mass-market is very difficult in the High Street and you have to look to the premium end and the discount end of the market for the good stories,” says independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.
Disney. Pester pound has seen Disney’s reputation soar, along with profits. Firstly, there is canny marketing going on too. Secondly, we all know that the Disney film industry spawns Disney merchandise and the shops are very child-centred. No stern stares from staff to children for touching, hugging and messing up displays!
- Lush. You literally can smell these stores a mile off and their profits and growth have been similarly intoxicating. They sell unique products and are ardent promoters of their own principles and politics – made in the UK, environmental and animal friendly, as well as promoting gay rights and fairtrade as messages.”The core values of the company resonate with their consumers,” says Richard Lim, Retail Economics expert.. “They are authentic by staying true to those core values and offering a product not available elsewhere. That is the magic sauce. A lot of retailers talk about WACD, or “what Amazon can’t do”. Lush is WACD.”
What these success stories show
These five examples of large business success may resonate with you. Domino’s pizza have sorted out branding and a product that epitomises great taste and value. Primark has tapped into cash and fashion-conscious buyers, harnessing social media. Firstly, JD Sports, Disney and Lush have clear consumer messages and are “high end.” Secondly, Greggs is another high flying company that has developed a cult following, for instance, with low prices and innovative marketing.
Only pay when you sell
The problem that many small to medium enterprises face is one of cash flow. However, short term loans or a business loan, that are correctly authorised and regulated, may appeal but you may want to only pay when revenue is being generated. Makes sense really. You may only want to repay an agreed percentage, where interest rates are fixed at an agreed percentage to aid cash flow.
Where PDQ Funding come in
In conclusion, we are experts in business cash advance and merchant cash advances with a proven track record of helping small businesses thrive in today’s mixed economic climate.
Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, you can trust us to provide a no obligation quote today.