Community ownership of vacant shops: can this save the High Street?

Take Back the High Street: Putting communities in charge of their own town centres – Power to Change Report 

Greater community ownership of high street properties could lead to many fewer empty shops, compared to ownership by private-sector interests such as real estate companies and overseas investors.

  • Shops owned by overseas investors are more than twice as likely to be vacant as shops owned by the public sector
  • Real estate companies own one in four of all empty shops, and overseas investors own one in five; whereas the public sector and social sector [2] own around one in ten each
  • Just 8% of units owned by the social sector are vacant, and 4.5% of those owned by the public sector – compared to 9.2% for real estate companies, 9.6% for overseas investors, 11.9% for institutions like pension funds, and 13% for investment management schemes

Consumer Spending: the lowest increase since records began

CONSUMER SPENDING LEFT LANGUISHING: British Retail Consortium (BRC)

Covering the four weeks 30 June – 27 July 2019

  • On a total basis, sales increased by 0.3% in July, against an increase of 1.6% in July 2018. This is the lowest figure recorded for the month of July since BRC records began in 1995 and comes after the worst June on records. This is above the 3-month average of -1.3% but below the 12-month average of 0.5%. This is the lowest 12-month average on records.
  • UK retail sales increased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from July 2018, when they had increased 0.5% from the preceding year. This is above the 3-month and 12-month averages of -1.5% and -0.2% respectively.
  • Over the three months to July, in-store sales of Non-Food items declined 4.1% on a Total basis and 4.0% on a like-for-like basis. This is worse than the 12-month Total average decline of 2.6%.
  • Over the three months to July, Food sales decreased 1.0% on a Like-for-like basis and 0.3% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 1.8% and the lowest 3-month average since December 2014, excluding Easter distortions.

Inflation falls

Consumer price inflation, UK: February 2018: ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in February 2018, down from 3.0% in January 2018.
  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.5% in February 2018, down from 2.7% in January 2018.
  • The largest downward contributions to the change in the rate came from transport and food prices, which rose by less than a year ago.
  • Falling prices for accommodation services also had a downward effect.
  • Rising prices for footwear produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution.

Inflation unchanged at 0.6%

UK consumer price inflation: Aug 2016 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 0.6% in the year to August 2016, unchanged from July.
  • The rate is still relatively low in the historic context although it is above the rates experienced in 2015 and early 2016.
  • The main upward contributors to change in the rate were rising food prices and air fares, and a smaller fall in the price of motor fuels than a year ago.
  • These upward pressures were offset by falls in hotel accommodation prices, in addition to smaller rises in the prices of alcohol, and clothing and footwear than a year ago.

The TUC said: “Ongoing low inflation signals need for urgent action to protect and boost growth

UK inflation up to 0.5%

Consumer Price Inflation, Mar 2016: ONS

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 0.5% in the year to March 2016, compared with a 0.3% rise in the year to February.

The rate has increased gradually since October 2015 although is still relatively low in the historical context.

Rises in air fares and clothing prices were the main contributors to the increase in the rate between February and March 2016.

These upward pressures were partially offset by a fall in food prices and a smaller rise in petrol prices than a year ago.

Retail sales growth

Retail Sales, September 2015: ONS

  • Year-on-year estimates in the quantity bought in the retail industry continued to show growth for the 29th consecutive month in September 2015, increasing by 6.5% compared with September 2014.
  • The underlying pattern in the data, as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement in the quantity bought, showed growth for the 22nd consecutive month, increasing by 0.9%.
  • Compared with August 2015, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.9%.
  • Average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 3.6% in September 2015 compared with September 2014, the 15th consecutive month of year-on-year price falls.
  • The amount spent in the retail industry increased by 2.7% in September 2015 compared with September 2014 and by 1.4% compared with August 2015.
  • The value of online sales increased by 15.2% in September 2015 compared with September 2014 and increased by 4.5% compared with August 2015

Pop-up retail now worth £2.3bn

Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy: CEBR

Pop-ups now account for 0.76% of total UK retail turnover, up from 0.6 % the year before, an increase of more than £200m in sales

Britain is now host to more than an estimated 10,000 pop-ups

The sector employs more than 26,000 people