Grimsey relaunches Review of High Street

By Paul Norman - Monday, March 12, 2018 15:20

Veteran retailer Bill Grimsey, former CEO of Wickes, Iceland, Booker and Focus DIY, has put together a team of experienced professionals, from various backgrounds, to revisit his first Grimsey Review “An Alternative Future for the High Street”, published in Westminster in 2013 in response to both Brexit and the changing dynamics facing the market.

Grimsey is launching the review in the wake of recent news about distressed retailers (30,000 according to Begbies Traynor), CVAs, administrations and closures (Warren Evans, Thomas Cook, Carluccio’s, Jamie Oliver, Byron, Toys R Us, M&S, Prezzo, Maplin, New Look and East to name but a few this year) along with the 2017 Business Rates Revaluation and Brexit.

The aim of Grimsey Review 2 is to revisit the first review to establish;

  • what impact it had?
  • which recommendations worked and which did not?
  • what has changed since?
  • what should be done now in order to better prepare our High Streets and Town Centres for the 21st Century?

Bill Grimsey said: “It is time to get this subject back on everyone’s agenda otherwise we will continue to sleep walk into the remainder of the 21st Century leaving a legacy of ill thought out Town Centres and High Streets to the next generation.

"Evidence based research is critical to how we manage our places and communities at both a local and national level. Change is rapid and change is constant. This all-encompassing second Review, written by independent experts, will act as an independent source of evidence and advice as to how the change should be managed.”

The team consists of six of the nine original authors and Professor of Services (Retail) Kim Cassidy from Edge Hill University has joined the team. The authors’ bios are below and all individuals and companies are contributing their time and data on a pro bono basis.

The authors report: "Five years ago the High Street was a hot topic. Shop vacancies were at an all-time high and the Government asked Mary Portas to conduct a review of the High Street. Frustrated by lack of a serious understanding of the major industry structural changes impending at the time Bill Grimsey and his co-authors offered an alternative review to Government which sought broaden the subject beyond shops identifying the need to embrace technology and reinvent the High Street as a community hub with a combination of goods and services."

The added: "At a time when Brexit has captured the limelight it is timely to revisit the first review."

The second review will again be primarily aimed at Central and Local Governments but will be relevant to Property Developers, Regeneration Professionals, trade associations, retailers, landlords, investors, think tanks/pressure groups and anyone concerned about “place” development and communities.

Grimsey Review 2 will "seek to identify case studies of good practice implemented as a result of the first review and other reviews at the time. It will also look at the costs, financing and operating models of towns. It is anticipated that many examples will serve to demonstrate that where there is a political will and good local leadership regeneration suitable for the environment of an ageing demographic and huge impact on society from new technologies is possible. The authors will also proactively contact key stakeholders of towns and cities to gather evidence and opinion as well as understand what town/community plans exist."

The report will be published on 4th July 2018.

Interested parties can join a LinkedIn Group called Grimsey Review 2 to submit feedback and evidence as well as updates.

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