25 March 2019
A packed house attended the latest LBV Lunchtime Meetup on 22 March to hear about some of the challenges to, and opportunities for the Leicestershire retail sector.
Kindly hosted by the Queen Victoria Arts Club venue in the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, attendees from the local business community heard from key speakers representing diverse elements of Leicester’s retail offer.
We first heard from Jo Tallack, Centre Manager at Highcross Leicester who outlined some of the key competitive challenges that the centre is facing and how a shift towards leisure is supporting their development.
Rob Williams, CEO at Williams Commerce then explained how the online sector had evolved and that there were still opportunities for brands to integrate their online and store offers.
Sarah Shepherd, Founder and Managing Director at Just Fair Trade then gave an independent retailer perspective, talking about the growth in the food market, ethical clothing and environmental concerns for shoppers.
Our host and LBV Vice Chair, Robin Pointon then opened up the debate for questions and the speakers responded to queries relating to competition from out-of-town centres, how Leicester can raise its game, opportunities for retail to take control of the agenda, issues around absentee landlords and re-selling empty spaces, and accessibility and transportation into the city.
Robin concluded by summarising that some of the key factors to take away from the debate were:
- potentially transforming empty retail spaces to offices
- maximising our ‘smart city’ capabilities
- defining and promoting the distinctiveness of the city story
- getting distant landlords to be more engaged with their city centre spaces, inviting them to an event that showcases what Leicester offers and the commercial returns that it could provide
- supporting and feeding into key local consultations
- delivering an effective strategy for access to and from the city centre, workplace parking and the public transport network
Robin added the above feedback would be presented to Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, to assist them in making Leicester a great place for retailing and for business.
For more details on the businesses represented by Jo Tallack, Rob Williams and Sarah Shepherd, visit:
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