Eric Pickles tells 'tatty' shopping parades how to succeed

 
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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has issued a set of guidelines to help "tatty" shopping parades in England compete with the High Street.

He urges small neighbourhood shops to "kick out the louts", set up "savvy" services and "restore local pride".

Labour branded his "shopping list for success" - which comes with no new money - "patronising" but it was welcomed by a leading trade body.

Retail guru Mary Portas has drawn up a £10m plan to revive the High Street.

But the Department for Communities and Local Government says it wants to reassure local convenience stores which employ 10 people or fewer that they have not been forgotten, describing them as "crucial" to the economy.

Local grocery shops, newsagents and cafes have been squeezed by the growth of out-of-town shopping centres and online retail, although are still growing at a faster rate than High Street stores, according to research quoted by the DCLG in a report.

'No-go zones'

Mr Pickles said: "In the past too many neighbourhood shopping parades have been left to fade in memory and outlook.

Start Quote

The government is giving long overdue credit to local shops and helping them by giving practical advice on how to work together and thrive”

End Quote National Association of Convenience Stores

"Convinced they can't compete with the mega stores and besieged by gangs of louts they have become tatty, no-go zones turning our beloved local convenience store into the local inconvenience.

"We've taken action to back local firms and small shops and today we are offering up ways to rescue run down shop parades by kicking out the louts, set up savvy services for shoppers and restoring the local pride in parades."

He said parades should be "thriving beacons of local business, home to the character of the neighbourhood community and the local shoppers' destination of choice".

The guide sets out government support available to local shops, such as the "Community right to bid", which is meant to make it easier for local people to take over "treasured" local assets faced with closure.

'Unhelpful'

But Shadow Communities and Local Government minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, for Labour, said: "This is further gesture politics from the government to cover up their lack of an economic plan for the country and for High Streets.

"While shop owners are working hard to keep their businesses going, the government has done little to improve consumer confidence and get our economy moving again.

"Advice like 'Go the extra mile on service' is simply patronising and unhelpful."

But Mr Pickles' guidance was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which helped draw it up.

Chief Executive James Lowman said: "The government is giving long overdue credit to local shops and helping them by giving practical advice on how to work together and thrive."

He said Mr Pickles' department had made "great strides in its new National planning Policy Framework that will make it harder for big out-of-town stores to open up and destroy the diversity of local parades."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 197.

    190.TheBladesman
    "I have the pleasure of working for a supermarket. Its a shame, good intelligent people are treated disgracefully, employed on tempororary contracts, worsening pensions and terms.Directors and senior managers don't seem to suffer though"

    My wife works for a supermarket and yes their morale is at an all time low. There is one term for it 'Gun Fodder' Thanks politicians

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 196.

    @Chewho "While we retain a system that serves and gives primacy only to the economy, materialism and consumerism this problem..."

    Thank you for stating what should be obvious to everyone, but somehow never is. anyone who believes that culture and commerce are entirely interchangeable is chasing rather shabby rainbows at everyone elses expense.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 195.

    113.Ticarus

    shabby shops do them selves out of business, a tin of paint and half an hour on sunday with a step ladder is all it takes to improve business.
    ----

    That might be the case on Fantasy Island or in Trumpton and Camberwick Green but not in that place where most of us live. Reality.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 194.

    It all depends on where you live, how your local council supports your high street and whether you have succumbed to the lie that the supermarket is the cheapest.

    Every little helps the billionaire, not the (wo)man in the street.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 193.

    189.randomnosity
    The idea which Pickles is trying to promote is Kaizen, which is helps any business to improve its practice, in this way which is improving the appearance of said business. Doesn't take much to improve a tatty shop, just logical organisation and promotion.

    Laudable as Kaizen is, empty shop units and blighted high streets need new businesses to open, trade and stay.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 192.

    189.randomnosity

    I imagine it doesn't take much to improve a tatty shop. However, call me a skeptic but I doubt any local businesses I know will be able to claim for a lick of paint without filling out complicated business statistics in triplicate and mailing them to Timbuktu. It's too little too late.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 191.

    Can't help but think rather cynically that all this cheap pricing, ruination of local businesses and the death of communities, wouldn't be such a massive issue if people like Amazon weren't offered massive government grants and being given almost indefinite tax breaks. Once again it's one rule for some, and another for the rest of us...

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 190.

    I have the pleasure of working for a supermarket. Its a shame, good intelligent people are treated disgracefully, employed on tempororary contracts, worsening pensions and terms. Current high employment and demand for jobs allows companies to get away with it.

    Directors and senior managers don't seem to suffer though. Ordinary people and local businesses suffer but thats capitalism for you.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 189.

    @187 WeAreUnamused

    The idea which Pickles is trying to promote is Kaizen, which is helps any business to improve its practice, in this way which is improving the appearance of said business. Doesn't take much to improve a tatty shop, just logical organisation and promotion.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 188.

    They may be a way that (subject to rental costs and business rates) small independent high street retailers can compete with the big boys. In our small rural town there is an electrical retailer and a hardware store who have joined national cooperatives from which they purchase their stock. This means they can offer products at the same price as the big boys. Both do internet sales too.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 187.

    179.randomnosity

    No. Low pricing is exactly the problem. People assume that because a product is £4 in one shop then that is The Price. If an independent sells that product for its actual price of £8 that's just blatant profiteering on behalf of the independent. The independent cannot obtain the discount to sell that product at £4. It's a simple business idea. It's called staying afloat.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 186.

    To make some money you have to provide a service. In the days of the
    Internet opening a box and putting the contents on a shelf is not much
    of a service.

    One would like to think that offering help and advice would be a
    service. Unfortunately most of the population are scrounging
    cheapskates. They take the 'free' help and advice...then buy at the
    lowest price off the Internet.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 185.

    181.TheBladesman
    "Prices are low through aggressive tactics with suppliers and 'streamlining' operating costs - reducing staff levels/salaries, worsening pension terms/contracts. All to preserve shareholder and director payouts - deserves criticism"

    Totally agree, I remember hearing of the contract labourers treatment who work overnight to replenish the shelves. Nobody see's this.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 184.

    @181 TheBladesman

    Good counter point. But continuous improvement of any business practice is always good at any size of business. However there is the ethical and moral question of what is considered in going too far in improvement which will affect the work force at these companies

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 183.

    Shops are doomed by the internet.
    Rates have to be abolished and a turnover tax used to replace the revenue. That fits activity of any commercial operation rather than drive struggling ones out of business.
    Halve property prices and thereby rents. By interest rates or tax. Make the asset rich join the pain, they are the root of the problem and have made ludicrous profits for nothing in property.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 182.

    I'm old enough to remember the arrival of the first supermarket in my area and it was a welcome breath of fresh air. Now I think is the time for a rethink - supermarkets don't just have a monopoly of groceries but virtually everything else people want/use. Very soon we won't have to worry about the breakup of the UK because it will be divided into Tesco Land, Sainsbury Land etc.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 181.

    @179.randomnosity

    Supermarkets thrive because of location and price. Location 'negotiated' with local councillors/planners. Say no more about that.

    Prices are low through aggressive tactics with suppliers and 'streamlining' operating costs - reducing staff levels/salaries, worsening pension terms/contracts. All to preserve shareholder and director payouts - deserves criticism.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 180.

    174.lelboy
    "We could never afford the Eagle - too posh - we had the Beano and the Beezer. Kids today haven't a clue"

    The only reason I got the Eagle was because my brother grew up and I had the chance to have it, but had to give up the Beano. My brother bought the Eagle with his paper round money. Today my kids have loads of products, X-Box, Laptops, TV's in their bedrooms unbelievable!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 179.

    rule of business: if you want your business to stand out from all the others, you make the difference in any mean necessary. Low cost "alterations" might give you the edge you need to survive. Good advice, shame that everyone else is bashing large supermarket chains.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 178.

    166.Skywatchman

    No, I apologise, I thought you guys were being sarcastic. Sorry I hijacked your conversation.

 

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