The Parliamentary All Party Small Shops Group, of which ACT is a member, launched the enquiry on 8th June with the endorsement of more than 50 MPs, to research what the British high street could look like in 10 years' time.
Jim Dowd, Chair of the Small Shops Group said: “My colleagues and I have become aware of the increasing concerns of our constituents, independent retailers and academics alike regarding the loss of diversity and amenity within the retail sector. Constituents have raised their fears about the breakdown of town and country life of which the retail industry is an integral part. This enquiry will look at the broad spectrum of criteria for a thriving high street and the role this plays in the community.”
The report will be compiled by the Retail Enterprise Network, an ACT affiliate partner from Manchester Metropolitan University, and will provide a view of how the typical UK high street will look in 2015 if there is no further Government regulation against retail developments. It will also investigate the extent to which consumer utility will be affected by existing trends. The report will make recommendations to the Department of Trade & Industry and the Office of Fair Trading.
ACT’s Mark Brown said: “The IBD sector is one of many independent markets facing continued pressure on the high street. We welcome this enquiry and hope it will focus Government and industry to better understand how these pressures can be met. With supermarkets expanding their non-food business, plus fears over growing red-tape, crime and property prices amongst others, we expect IBDs to face growing challenges which risk the loss of choice, service and diversity on our high streets."
"As a trade association we are increasingly committed to supporting any activities which protect and promote the value independent retailers can offer consumers. We also should not forget that there are, of course, opportunities for IBDs, and other independents, to differentiate their offer in the face of increasing competition from corporate retailers. With this in mind ACT are working towards developing initiatives which enable cycle retailers to do just that, in order to support the long-term future of our sector and cycling.”