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Issue 10

February 2015

Retail Matters Sheffield City Region - Retail Hub of the North

Special double issue edition! In this issue: Barnsley and Rotherham Town Centres - 2015 and beyond Your invitation to our next retail conference

Retail Matters

Industry experts discuss their thoughts for the future of retail Retail Matters week 9th-15th February



Welcome to our tenth edition of

Retail Matters Ann Cadman OBE Vice Chair of the Sheffield City Region Retail Forum and Managing Director of The Source Skills Academy

This issue is a double length edition, firstly to mark the occasion of reaching our tenth issue and secondly, to celebrate Retail Matters awareness week which will run from 9th – 15th February.

The British Council of Shopping Centres and charity The Retail Trust are launching the awareness week, which aims to encourage more people to build a career in the sector, rather than see it as a stop-gap or a weekend job. This will be demonstrated through a nationwide programme of events and activities; all with a shared goal of showing the world just why Retail Matters. Our first issue of the year is a great time to look at the future of retail, which is also the theme of our next Retail Matters conference. The future looks bright for the sector with an abundance of innovative ideas omni-channel shopping starting to be implemented, merging shopping instore and online. For Annoushka Ducas, founder of Links of London, “the store is still the most important first-touch experience. Our customers will come to the store and then discover more online,” she said.1 H&M is one retailer which is paving the way for this change; recently launching their ‘Scan and Buy’ app enabling customers to scan an item with their smart phone to check if another size or colour is available to purchase online2.

On a similar theme, US fashion retailer Neiman Marcus is trialling another kind of mirror; one which captures video footage of the customer trying clothes on, allowing them to view themselves from all angles and also to try the same item in a different colour without getting changed. These images can then be shared via social media to allow the customer to receive opinions on the outfit from friends and family before buying4. The sector is full of exciting ideas like these and I’m looking forward to hearing what our speakers have to say on the subject of the future of retail at our next conference. A bright future for retail makes it a brilliant time to build a career in the sector and Jenna Unwin, who features on our front cover of this issue, is a fantastic example of how prosperous a career in retail can be with the right training and support. Jenna started her career in retail at 16 when she started her apprenticeship through The Source with Whistle Stop Sweet Shop in Rotherham. 18 months later, she is now managing a new store in Sheffield and is responsible for her own apprentice. You can read more about Jenna’s story on page 4 but I’m sure you’ll agree she has done incredibly well and has a great future ahead of her. As I’ve already mentioned, we are busy planning our next Retail Matters conference which will take place during Retail Matters Week on the 10th February. We have secured some fantastic speakers to speak on the topic ‘The Future of Retail’ and we hope our delegates will find the conference insightful, taking lots of ideas away to use in their own businesses. We hope to see you there! 1

Technology is also being used to aid the trying on experience and Dutch lingerie label Lincherie is utilising 3D body scanners to enable customers to be measured for their bra size without the aid of a store assistant. The changing room mirror tells the customer how to position themselves in order to be measured and, in less than a minute and 140 measurements later, it tells the customer their exact bra size and, for the icing on the cake, tells the customer which items the store has in stock in their size3.

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Retail Matters Retail Matters Conference 10th February 2015 The Future of Retail The Sheffield City Region Retail Forum is inviting organisations to attend a free retail conference and networking event called ‘Retail Matters: The Future of Retail’.

The conference will be held on Tuesday 10th February from 1.30pm until 4pm at The Source Skills Academy, 300 Meadowhall Way, Sheffield, S9 1EA. Speakers will include:

Darren Pearce - Meadowhall Shopping Centre Randall Casson - PricewaterhouseCoopers Thierry Bale - Global Fashion Management

The last conference attracted over 100 organisations from across the region and 100% of delegates rated the speakers as either good or excellent. This half day conference will be invaluable for anyone looking to hear what experienced business leaders and retail industry experts believe will be crucial for future success in the retail industry. The conference will also provide a fantastic opportunity for delegates to network with retailers from across the Sheffield City Region.

To book your place contact Emily Sharples on 0114 2635625 or email

Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council I was speaking recently at an event for the construction and development industry. As a panel, we were each asked what we would like for Christmas. One member of the panel from a major development company said “more confident retailers”. You could take from his comment that retailing is in trouble. That, I suspect, is not what he meant. His point is that it is hard to predict exactly how shopping trends are going to pan out. What that means to me is that those that predict the trends, or even successfully create the trends, will do well. Those that do not will fare less well. I think we can safely predict that people will still be buying. The questions are from whom, and more importantly through what channels. What is clear, though, is that standing still for any retailer is not a sensible option. Although a bit unnerving, working in an industry where the future is hard to predict not because it is in decline but because choices are greater and more varied is tremendously exciting. Timid retailers who fail to offer choice and fail to make it clear to their customers what they are offering will struggle. And for retailers to succeed they do not just need talented and bold people in the boardroom. They need talented, enthusiastic and savvy people at all levels. Most of all they need people who can respond quickly and willingly to change – agile people with an agile attitude. So, do I think that changing trends mean the death of the High Street or the Shopping Mall as we all flock online. No, I do not. Just like the rise in digital “books” has seen a rise in the sale of real books, just as the rise in digital music downloads has seen a rise in the sale of 12 inch LPs, so it can also be true of retailing. But we must not rely on good luck or good fortune. Retailing can shape its own future, but only if it wants to. I know margins are squeezed, every £ has to be fought for and the ‘old order’ has been shaken up. I therefore know it’s not easy, but with a future that is hard to predict because of new possibilities then that surely points to an exciting time. It also surely points to a great opportunity for talented people.

Retail Matters The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop

Ask the Retail Experts

Planning for Barnsley and Rotherham’s Town Centres 2015 and beyond

Northern Tea Merchants of Chesterfield

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Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry Its seems hard to believe we are nearly two months into 2015. Retail results from Christmas show a very mixed picture and here at the Chamber we see the same in all parts of the economy. There is generally more activity around and interest rates and inflation are low but its hard to support the notion that the country is in recovery. The saying is that “Volume is for vanity and profit is for sanity” i.e. just because GDP is rising don’t equate that to recovery.

Sounds pretty pessimistic doesn’t it but do you see it differently? On the optimistic side the UK is only 2% of world GDP so there is plenty more to trade with and there is always room for entrepreneurs to thrive. Retailers are no different to this. Our belief is that whilst things will continue to be tight there are massive opportunities for those who do the right things and deliver what the customer wants. ​ heffield has the opportunity to build something unique that will excite and entice the S shopper and ensure that the medium term outlook for the retail sector is good. We must be demanding of the developers, the city marketing team, and our leaders in order to create and grasp the vision that will ensure we have a really good future.

The UK trade deficit with the rest of the world is still negative and Public Sector borrowing is growing because tax receipts to the Chancellor are not growing. There has been a recovery in house prices and turn over but will this put more money into peoples pockets?

The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop

Retail Matters

The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, owned by husband and wife team Kara and Tony Chapman, first opened in Rotherham in 2010. The shop is a bespoke sweet boutique offering a wide variety of delicious high quality sweets and luxurious sweet gifts. After the business’s initial success, it was soon apparent that Kara and Tony needed extra staff to help with the running of the store. They discussed the possibility of offering an apprenticeship position with George Elliott from The Source, they recruited their first apprentice. Unfortunately their first apprentice didn’t work out but around this time, Jenna Unwin, aged 16, was working weekend shifts at the shop and was unsure what her next step after school should be. Interested in the apprenticeship vacancy, Jenna decided against going to college and enrolled onto a level 2 Retail Skills diploma in September 2013.

Jenna sailed through her apprenticeship, showing such passion throughout her apprenticeship that halfway through her 12 month course; her employers began to discuss the possibility of her managing her own store. In June 2014, they began to plan the new store and found the ideal location in the entrance to Orchard Square in Sheffield City Centre with Jenna involved every step of the way. Jenna finished her apprenticeship in September and the new store opened in October when she was taken on as store manager and now manages her own apprentice. Keen to continue expanding on her knowledge, Jenna is hoping to study for a Management Level 3 qualification with The Source to improve her strength as a manager. Jenna said “I’m really enjoying my new role managing the Sheffield store. I love chatting to the customers and have some lovely loyal customers who even came especially from Rotherham to Sheffield to see the new store”. Kara said “Jenna is such a valuable member of the team. She is very independent, especially given her young age, and is proud to be fully in control of her own path. If Jenna sets her mind on achieving something, there is no stopping her; she is very driven and I’m sure she has a great career ahead of her.” For more information about The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, visit For more information about apprenticeships contact or call 0114 2636651.


The front cover image and the above images are courtesy of Mark Rodgers

Chief Executive of the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce Planning for Barnsley and Rotherham’s Town Centres - 2015 and beyond

There will also be a new route behind the redeveloped indoor markets with new shopping and leisure opportunities”.

Rotherham is a ‘Portas Pilot’ using government and private sector funding to support retail which has helped to reduce vacancy rates, boost footfall and increase shopper satisfaction. Nearly a hundred new retail businesses have opened up in Rotherham town centre since 2010.

New car parking - Expected November 2015 High quality, safe, bright, and easy to access open-air car parking, with plenty of spaces.

Andrew Denniff from Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce said, “With those ‘high street retailers’ having seemingly weathered the worst of the economic downturn and with a mix of both multiple, independent retailers and leisure offers such as cafes and bars, as well as the steady improvement to our vacancy rate over the last 12 months, it still remains to be seen as to whether the town centre will return to occupancy levels last seen over ten years ago. “The massive new Tesco store, which opened mid-November, provides us with an additional problem of how we develop the old Tesco site on Forge Island, potentially as a cinema-led development or as a site for car parking, both will have a big impact on the continued evolution of Rotherham town centre.

Retail Matters

“Whatever the direction of progress, any retail and leisure offer needs to continue to develop ideas and initiatives which will drive footfall and inevitably lead to greater activity and demand. “So with all that in mind here’s a little request from Rotherham’s retailers for 2015. Let’s have a little bit more positivity around both the town centre and shopping locally. Footfall within the town is increasing, and many people are excited by the changes that have taken place. More and more people are coming to town who have not been in years and I hope this continues and people return to their town to see how it’s changed and developed. “The ‘Free Parking Saturdays’ up to Christmas worked really well, enticing shoppers to come to town, let’s hope the one-hour free parking at Forge Island has the same effect, encouraging shoppers to choose Rotherham as a destination to shop”. In Barnsley, changes to the face of the town centre retail offer are much more visible and more immediate, with exciting proposals for a new look town centre and plans that will attract new investment into the town. “A new landscaped public square where routes into the town centre meet, large enough for market stalls and public events and access into a refurbished indoor market. In addition a bright and open space, which will create flow between outdoor and indoor shopping with easier access for shoppers and businesses.

New town square - Expected October 2016 A new landscaped public square where routes into the town centre meet. The square will be large enough for market stalls and public events, and will look into the refurbished indoor market. New central library, revamped metropolitan centre, market hall and a new shopping boulevard - All expected during 2017 With the library located on Mayday Green, this state of the art building will be a hub for community activity. In addition to a bright, open and inspiring, newly refurbished space that will create flow between outdoor and indoor shopping, and by extending Lambra Road, a new route behind the redeveloped indoor markets with new shopping and leisure opportunities. “As we look forward with great optimism, let’s hope the town continues apace with the regeneration, including the exciting developments around the marketplace and the public realm. Already we can see the town beginning its transformation and the vision for the future is one that we can all benefit from, enticing people back into town and providing Barnsley with an optimism that has really brought us together”.


From Elaine Feeney, Project Manager at Sheffield City Council Since 2010 the Housing and Neighbourhood Regeneration team has been working towards a Successful Centres vision - that every community will have a centre that acts as a focal point, where people can come together. Centres will be a source of pride for local people and contribute to their sense of belonging to an area. Local people and businesses will be able to get involved in improving and looking after their centres, talk to the council and other agencies about what works and doesn’t work and have a say on changes. Building up strong working relationships with cross sector partners in each area is an essential part of the programme to ensure each project is of high quality, maximises resources available, and creates a sense of ownership and pride whilst also ensuring the projects are sustainable. The following highlights the range of projects that the council has supported across Sheffield over the past few years.

The ATT have established themselves as a key stakeholder for regeneration & improvement in the area and have taken a lead role in consulting with proposed developments that could potentially improve the area. At the bi-monthly ATT meetings there is a schedule of guest speakers who present to the group on various initiatives that will positively affect Attercliffe high street. The chair of Attercliffe Town Team, Mohammed Mahroof, said of the Attercliffe Festival: ““Attercliffe is a fantastic place. People who live and work here are so proud of it; people who used to live and work here remember it very fondly, but at the same time they are sad to have seen it fall behind other centres in the city in recent times and are desperate to see it revived. The Town Team allows local people to get involved, it gives them a small budget to develop their plans, and by working together it means that they can take some control of Attercliffe’s fortunes and make things happen for the better.”

Banner Cross

Traders of Banner Cross contacted the Housing and Neighbourhood Regeneration team as they wanted help to raise awareness of the quality independent businesses in their area.


Retail Matters

Attercliffe is an historic centre with many outstanding assets including its top class sports facilities and prime location in Sheffield’s main Lower Don Valley industrial and commercial district and significant housing potential. Despite much progress and the fact that Attercliffe has a wide range of independent businesses, it suffers from a poor quality environment, noise and dirt associated with large vehicles, and persistent negative image. Through this project the Attercliffe Town Team (ATT) was created and has successfully brought together local traders, stakeholders, and community groups and is currently creating a positive momentum in Attercliffe with their desire to change perceptions and make a positive difference. The ATT have achieved a great deal over the last 2 years which include: A unique brand that celebrates the heritage of Attercliffe has been developed to create a positive and recognisable identity for Attercliffe. Two new murals displaying the new brand logo for Attercliffe have been implemented on prominent buildings on the high street. Several Clean-up days have been organised that brought together the community and council officers to clear the local car parks and green spaces of litter and overgrown shrubs. In addition to this a derelict piece of land in front of a prominent building, has been landscaped with wild flowers.

Several events and festivals have been held; the events included market stalls for local traders, music and family activities. The festival increased the footfall to the area on the day and most importantly gained the buy-in of the traders who wanted to build on the momentum created and organise further markets and events. An inter trading database was created by carrying out a full analysis of all the businesses situated in and around Attercliffe high street, this has allowed all local businesses to support each other and allow money to circulate around the local economy more effectively.


In 2012, the council and the traders submitted an application to the Mary Portas funding. This bid was successful and the local centre of Banner Cross received £10,000. A Town Team was established, through the group, a number of successful seasonal events have been organised with intensive support from the local neighbourhood group. These events focussed on showcasing the independent businesses in the area

and increasing footfall. Alongside the events a very successful shop local campaign was ran through ‘Totally Locally’ a national campaign to encourage shoppers to support local businesses.

Excellent working relationships were established at the beginning of the project with a number of key community groups and businesses in the area. Such partnership working has maximised local knowledge and expertise.

The traders also effectively utilised social media as a means of advertising their unique offer. All of the traders contributed to updating the Banner Cross Twitter account with photographs of their products, customers and businesses. The Twitter account now has over 2,000 followers. WORK Ltd, a local charity which provides opportunities for people with learning difficulties, were commissioned to make hand crafted large wooden planters. Colourful flowers were carefully chosen to brighten up the area and improve customers shopping experience. The traders have taken over responsibility of the maintenance of the planters. A local trader at Banner Cross reflected on the installed planters: “For so long I’ve been suggesting to fellow traders that making the place look attractive will ensure happy customers will feel special when they shop with us. They look absolutely stunning.”


Darnall has all the ingredients of a thriving and successful District Centre; including a strong and growing resident population, good range of shops, community facilities and access to public transport. However, the centre had a poor environment, with some buildings in a poor state of repair. In addition, there was a high number of vacant units. A Shop Front Improvement Scheme was launched by the council in 2013. The scheme involved cosmetic facelifts to the front elevations of 70 independent businesses within a designated boundary. The scheme aimed to improve shop fronts as a means of supporting local businesses, improving the environment, encouraging the take up off vacant units and raising the image of Darnall centre to the local population, visitors and potential investors alike.

Through this strong partnership working Valley View Community Hub was created, in what would have become a vacant unit. The hub includes a charity shop, coffee shop and a range of services and activities which take place for all age groups. The Hub has proved extremely popular and has become a valuable addition to the area. Gleadless Valley Forum were an integral partner in setting up the hub and now successfully manage the day to day running of the building and all the facilities it provides. Some small scale public realm improvements were also implemented which included, new signage to signpost local amenities in the area, a local artist worked with young people in the area to decorate shop shutters. This has brightened up the area and deterred graffiti. Planters and hanging baskets were also placed in and around the shopping parade, and canopies above shops as well as railings were re-painted. All of this this contributed to enhancing the street scene and improving the overall appearance of the area.

Retail Matters

Some small scale public realm improvements are also underway which will include the repairing of poor railings, placing colourful planters along the street scene, and upgrading pedestrian walkways will also take place.

In addition to this all independent traders were offered training and mentoring by The Source, to help improve customer experience and digital marketing skills. And a range of activities was developed to address litter and fly tipping in problem areas around the high street. This was a joint up approach with several Council departments working together with the local community to inform and educate on litter and how to dispose of it correctly.


Hillsborough District Centre is one off Sheffield’s larger centres and has a lot to offer. It boasts a wide range of independent shops, a library, leisure centre, art galleries as well as a park and an award winning walled garden. The Hillsborough Successful Centre project was developed to raise awareness of these attractions, and enhance what was already on offer.


Hemsworth is located in the Gleadless Valley area of south Sheffield. The main shopping area is a small parade known locally as Gaunt Road Shops. Whilst it serves everyday needs, such as a minimart and pharmacy there was a distinct lack of community facilities. The centre also suffered from a poor image locally, mainly due to the run down appearance; including a number of vacant units as well as anti-social behaviour.

The project created a traders group to promote independent business within Hillsborough. The group provided a support network for traders as well as a forum for raising issues, ideas and organising events. Through the group a marketing campaign was launched to showcase the quality and variety of businesses and facilities that are on offer in Hillsborough. The high quality of the campaign resulted in it being short listed for a prestigious design award. A number of popular seasonal events were also organised including a Christmas


market and treasure trails. The events have allowed independent traders to showcase their businesses, and increase footfall and profit. The traders group are now taking a leading role in developing a programme of events throughout the year. The high street was de-cluttered by the removal of redundant bollards and street signs. Railings were also painted and flower displays were added, making an easier and more attractive environment for pedestrians to experience and navigate. And a redundant piece of land was identified and developed into a new car park to provide more spaces for visitors to the centre. The council also have organised a series of walks through Hillsborough, known as the Hillsborough Walk Boost project. The aim of the walks was to broaden people’s travelling options, entice them to walk around Hillsborough and use the local shops, improve people’s health, increase socialising opportunities, and improve economic growth for local businesses. Due to the success of the walks, they are now being rolled out in other areas of the city. A participant of the Hillsborough Walk Boost Project reflected on their experience: “It really made me think about supporting local shops in Hillsborough. I now walk there twice a week to shop for fruit, veg, meat and fish and other items. The fabric shop has always been a favourite and I can browse there for too long! I also try to stay for a coffee in one of the cafes while I’m there. It’s a great social occasion too, I always bump into someone I know in the street and have a quick chat.”

Sheffield Antiques Quarter

The council has been working with the Sheffield Antiques Quarter (SAQ) since March 2012. Several services have been involved, including the Housing and Neighbourhood Regeneration Team and Creative Sheffield’s Enterprise Team.

To enable the continuation of improvements on and around the Green a shop front improvement scheme is currently being delivered in Spital Hill. The scheme will provide cosmetic improvements to the front façade of independent shops. Again the scheme aims to improve shops fronts as a means of supporting local businesses, improving the environment and raising the profile of Spital Hill In addition to this the national Love Where You Live campaign was used to market a series of clean-up days that brought together various council departments and services. Over 60 bags of litter were collected from the area, which made a real impact on the street scene. Future clean-up days will be organised as well as ongoing education for both traders and residents on how to dispose of their litter correctly.

Retail Matters

The SAQ is an excellent example of how a group of like-minded people can come together and make a real difference. The cluster of businesses has existed for many years but lacked a profile or marketing.

SAQ is ideally placed to attract people of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of the work is to let everyone know that Sheffield has a well-established comprehensive yet compact antiques quarter, with a host of independent traders selling everything from antiques, retro and vintage items, through to military memorabilia and artwork. The SAQ have achieved a great deal such as developing a unique brand to represent the Quarter and a comprehensive marketing campaign delivered to raise awareness locally and nationally. They also hold regular vintage markets, which involve all the local businesses and attract a large number of people to the area. The Housing & Neighbourhood Team facilitated a partnership between the SAQ and the Association of Town Centre Management, who have supported a crowd funding application to enhance the area by” signing the quarter” creating an official tourist attraction.

Ivan Macquisten, of the Antiques Trade Gazette said: “What’s happening in Sheffield is a template for other towns and cities in the UK, not just in terms of art and antiques but in the whole approach that business, local government and people living in the area should take. It is a credit to the efforts and imagination of the retailers as well as the enlightened approach of the council.” (The Star, 2012)

Spital Hill

Spital Hill is a district centre located in the north east of Sheffield. It comprises mainly of independent shops, which reflect the diverse communities living in Spital Hill and the surrounding area. The centre is also well provided by community facilities and services, such as a library, housing office, doctors and dental surgery. The opening of a Superstore has brought more shoppers to the area but is also a threat to independents. Ellesmere Green, a well-used and valued green space in Spital Hill, has undergone improvements delivered by the City Regeneration Division, creating a revived social space for all the community to enjoy. The space was used for a community street market in June 2014, to attract footfall and create new custom and confidence in the area. Pavements and street lighting have also been upgraded to create a high quality public realm.


The Muslim Marketing Company were commissioned to engage with traders, in which they delivered one to one training sessions on marketing, window dressing and effective shop layouts to encourage sales.


Stocksbridge is a distinct township that is geographically distant from the urban area of Sheffield. There are a wide range of shops serving everyday needs and a range of facilities, including a community resource centre, medical centre, housing office and library. A range of interventions were implemented to improve Stocksbridge District Centre which included, Public Realm Improvements to the outside of Stocksbridge library, which included new flower beds, seating and paving. Other small scale public realm improvements have been made, including the installation of new bollards and the repainting of shop canopies. City dressing were commissioned to design vinyl graphics that have been placed in the shop windows of vacant units. Improving the appearance of vacant shops in this way creates a positive overall impact on the rest of the high street and encourages the take up of the vacant units. City dressing were also commissioned to open up a pop up shop in one of the vacant units called ‘Made in Stocksbridge.’ The shop will allow local produce, art and crafts to be showcased.

by Sarah Meldrum from Nabarro Sarah Meldrum is a real estate partner at Nabarro LLP, based in Sheffield. Sarah’s particular expertise is in the area of retail, acting for a number of institutional landlords owning shopping centres and retail parks across the country. Sarah answers some of our retail legal queries. Q: Pop-up shops have helped landlords fill empty space during the recession, but are landlords still looking to make use of pop-ups? A: Pop-up shops were originally seen as a temporary solution to soaring vacancy rates, and to alleviate rates’ bills if an occupier could be persuaded to stay for more than six weeks, but landlords still seem to be sweet on the concept. The variety they provide helps to keep an offer fresh, which boosts footfall. A pop-up that trades successfully may decide to take a permanent letting, which is a bonus to a landlord, and the tenant has had the benefit of being able to “try before it buys”. A pop-up can trade with the seasons, and this just doesn’t mean Christmas; one 2014 success was a summer M&S popup offering a one-stop shop to kit out children returning to school. Sarah Meldrum from Nabarro

lease of an RMU is inclusive of rates, then a landlord will become liable for any rates charged, which may not have been accounted for when the original rent was set. If all-inclusive RMU leases are coming up for renewal, it is something for landlords to look out for. Q: If I serve a break notice to terminate my lease and the termination date is midway through a quarter, am I entitled to a refund of the rent paid for the period after the termination date? A: M&S have recently been granted leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision which basically said no. M&S had exercised its break and claimed a refund of the rent which it had paid for the period after the break date. The lease didn’t include an express term which would have allowed for such a refund, and so the question was whether such a term would be implied. The High Court decided that it would be, and so the rent had to be refunded. The Court of Appeal subsequently overturned this decision, and we will have to see what happens next. The decision will have implications for landlords and tenants and there will be many tenants watching this case with interest.

Retail Matters Q: Can a rating officer charge rates on RMUs with retrospective effect?

A: There is some anecdotal, and some real, evidence of rating officers now putting Retail Modular Units (RMUs) on the rating list, and with retrospective effect. If a

Adorn Jewellers of Chesterfield It’s no big news that more and more consumers are doing their shopping online, but Chesterfield Champion, Adorn Jewellers isn’t letting that get in the way of personal contact with customers. Based in the Shambles in Chesterfield’s town centre, Adorn Jewellers is a real treasure trove of bespoke, hand crafted jewellery. It was established by Laura Jo Owen, in 2010. It’s a real family business with husband Adam helping out with the jewellery, and their Cairn Terrier, Gandalf (Head of Security) taking pride of place in one of the wing backed chairs within their vintage themed jewellery boutique. She said: “I think in some arenas online retailing has changed customer service. There is a danger when your customer isn’t face to face with you, that they are treated as a number or statistic. It is vital to me that our customers feel comfortable when they shop at Adorn and this extends to our website. Each web customer is sent a personal email when they place their order and I make sure to include a handwritten note when I send their jewellery to thank them for shopping with us.

“Recently I have had two new web customers who were not confident on their computers and worried they would struggle with placing their order. In both cases they called and I talked them through the process step-by-step. They received the same excellent level of customer care that they would receive at the boutique. “I continue to make time for my customers both online and in the shop; they are the most important part of my business and I believe it is vital that they know that!” 2015 is also set to be an exciting year for Laura Jo and Adam of Adorn Jewellers, as they plan to launch their own bespoke collection of jewellery. Laura Jo, Owner of Adorn Jewellers, said: “Adam has recently joined the business full time, he is currently beavering away in the workshop with plans to launch our own collection of jewellery. “We will also be travelling the UK in search of new designers and sneaking in some seaside trips for inspiration! We are so excited to continue to grow throughout 2015.”


From 9th – 15th February, The British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and charity the Retail Trust are launching Retail Matters, bringing the industry together through a nationwide programme of events and activities; all with a shared goal of showing the world just why Retail Matters! To celebrate this, we asked three individuals at varying points in their retail careers to answer our questions and give us an insight into what the industry means to them.

Meet the Experts Charlotte Scothern is the owner of Patchwork Pig, a bespoke gift and craft shop on Rotherham High Street.  Patchwork Pig opened in 2012 providing colourful and affordable gifts for all the family. Offering an ever-changing and dynamic product range with great customer service, their ranges include traditional toys, soaps and candles, cards and gift wrap and accessories. Charlotte’s hard work paid off when she won retailer of the year in the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce awards 2014 and Most Determined to succeed in the Youth Enterprise Awards 2014. Mark Bruce is the Retail Director at Meadowhall Shopping Centre and has over 20 years of experience within men’s, women’s and children’s fashion. He has experience managing in excess of 120 stores across UK and Ireland with a turnover in excess of £250m. Mark’s current role at Meadowhall involves him overseeing the centre’s sales and footfall; developing the centre’s retail strategy and improving the retail experience offered to customers. Susan Gravill is Company Secretary at Brook Bakery Ltd and has been a part of its success for over 20 years. Starting out as a retail shop in Shiregreen, Sheffield the business has grown to produce high quality products from a 22,000 sq ft SALSA accredited purpose built bakery. Their vast range of bread and confectionary products are sold via their own retail shops and many wholesale customers from varying areas of business. Susan has worked at the grass roots in the retail shops but has grown with the company having input on many aspects of both the retail and production decisions but still firmly believes that customer service is the key.

Retail Matters How did you get into retail? Charlotte:

I started working in retail after my previous contract finished, working for the YMCA, it felt like the right time to start. After years of wanting to work for myself and loving shopping in independent shops across the country, discovering unique and different products, I wanted to create a retail opportunity in Rotherham, providing these products at affordable prices. I chose the name Patchwork Pig, as that was the vision I wanted to create, a patchwork of products all coming together to create a unique and enjoyable shopping experience for customers. Having never worked in retail previously before this point, I recognised how important it was to attend training to make sure I was offering the best service, therefore I attended World Host Customer Service, Digital High Street, Marketing and many more training courses provided by The Source Skills Academy.



From leaving school and after four years studying engineering, the desire to get my foot in the door and start a career in retail was stronger than ever. I will never look back at the early years with any regret as I have learnt that, in this industry, you will be continually surprised at the variety of situations, challenges and therefore skills you will need to call upon. An opportunity to join Primark as a trainee manager kicked it all off and within two years, and after placements in Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham, I found myself in London. Soon Oxford Street beckoned and following a couple more years with River Island in a number of stores I was now a Store Manager with aspirations to obtain an Area Manager role and see more of the country. 21 years later, several more roles and businesses later, I still wake up every morning wanting to go to work, though it doesn’t feel like work, it’s just what I do. A career in retail will continue to surprise you as to what can be achieved. No two days are the same and the people you meet and the people that inspire you make it one of the best industries to be part of.


My brother John first started the business in1988 and is now Managing Director. He came from a retail background after working in retail food straight from school whilst I came from a finance/office background. He first leased a shop that bought in its bakery products and sold them on and I helped as and when I could. He didn’t like paying someone else and thought he’d like to have a go himself so bought a shop with ovens in the back to bake his own products. It not only gave us control but the satisfaction of seeing and selling the products he’d made. I meanwhile decided to help John with the retail to allow him more time to bake and we both still have lots of input on what is happening in our retail world.

How has retail changed over the time you have worked in the industry? Mark:


After a number of years of austerity, I believe now more than ever, customers need to see good value for money and therefore it’s important for retailers to make sure we provide customers with the right affordable products. I also believe there has been an increase in shoppers wanting to see more hand crafted products, UK made or fair-trade items, as shoppers become more socially aware of the manufacturing of items. In my opinion, the story behind each product is more important than ever before. The growth of social media platforms has changed the way in which we interact with customers, and as more customers use this as a way of interacting with us, it provides a new two-way conversation stream. We can also easily promote new products, in store events and stories that we think would be of interest to our customers and they can talk to us too.

The fundamentals of retail remain the same but the impact of technology on both the retailer and the consumer has been seismic. Retail is, at its core, a simple business but the challenge is to keep it simple and make it look simple. Today’s consumer is more knowledgeable, time poor and therefore more demanding than ever before resulting in high expectations being placed on retail businesses. The continual merging of online and in-store has created an exciting environment and one in which the customer remains king, but also needs to be excited. We’re now all connected, brands live and die on social recognition/advocacy and the world of retail is more transparent than ever before. At its core, the basics remain unchanged, it’s about delivering a product that is desirable to the customer, in a way that is convenient and at a price that adds value to both the consumer and the business. Retail has always involved change but the speed of change has certainly been accelerated over recent years. It’s an exciting industry and with change comes challenges but also great opportunities for businesses and also individuals.


Retail has changed massively for us as a company mainly due to the supermarkets expanding their ranges and becoming more accessible. Also, peoples shopping trends have changed and continue to do so with busy lifestyles. Originally we used to sell raw meats and dry goods, fruit and vegetables, but made extensive changes in 2001 when we increased the take away products, selling a large range of hot and cold take away food as well as the freshly baked bakery goods. We had to change with the times and are still continuing to modernise to suit the ever changing customer base. Our shops aren’t on the high street; they are in local communities and give a service that you can’t get in a supermarket. I think that people are moving back to this way of shopping however people want a quick fix and will buy sandwiches unlike years ago when they used to buy loaves of bread and cooked meats to make the sandwiches themselves! We also now offer alternatives such as pasta and salads, as the humble sandwich is no longer necessarily everyone’s favourite lunch choice.

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What are your predictions for retail in 2015 and will you be adapting to meet these changes? Charlotte:

For me, it will be the continued growth of the digital world. Not only does the internet provide people with more channels and more places to buy products than ever before, it provides customers with so much more information. I still believe in the importance of a physical location because, for me, there is no replacement for the interaction, enjoyment and trust gained within a store location, but the internet allows for customers to access more retailers and for retailers to access more customers. This change in retail is why we will be launching our new website in 2015 and trying to find more ways to integrate technology into our physical store location. With initiatives such as High Street regeneration and Small Business Saturday, I think the value of independents and UK made and crafted products will continue to grow amongst customers.


There are clear signs that we are coming out of the recession, consumer confidence is growing and the retail environment is improving. 2015 will see further merging of channels and more e-tailers opening physical stores. Technological advancements won’t slow down but retailers will adapt to incorporate this technology, in innovative ways in-store, to ensure that an exciting experience is delivered. Physical stores need to wow customers to get them from behind mobile devices and off the sofa. Predictions are never easy, but reading the trade press, talking to retail businesses and more importantly listening to customers will give you the best possible insight. Adapt or die is a term used more commonly these days and it’s very true. The attraction of Meadowhall is reliant on a compelling retail offer alongside convenience. Therefore, the fusion of online services is essential to ensure that the customer’s visit is both convenient and fulfilling. The number of retailers offering click and collect is growing fast along with our own Collect+ service which allows customers to pick up online parcels in centre. We’re working through a digital strategy for the centre and will continue to embrace technology to enhance the customer experience. We have also launched a customer feedback programme called ‘Tell Meadowhall’ which allows customers to give us real time feedback and for us to measure how we’re performing and learn more about how and where we can improve.


This is a hard one. The younger generation like to be tempted by what’s in front of them but still want the convenience of the take away ready to eat food. I think all retail has to keep on their toes and keep evolving. Customer service is coming back into fashion and the large supermarket shop is a chore so let’s make the local shopping experience an enjoyable one again and I think the smaller retailers can make a comeback.


Rotherham Jewellery Business Uses Newfound E-commerce and Social Media Skills to Achieve Sparkling Sales Vivid Jewellery has been successfully trading across two stores for nearly six years and has now found even more success after attending fully-funded Digital High Street Skills course at The Source Skills Academy. Owner Deborah Pearson started the jewellery business with husband Richard in 2009 with £250 in her pocket and an outdoor market stall. Now she has two beautifully fitted indoor stores at Rotherham and Barnsley markets and the business is such a success that she has been able to buy her dream car; a brand new Mercedes sports car. The shops sell fashion jewellery and accessories with prices ranging from £1 to £65 to suit a range of customers. In August, Deborah was approached by Account Manager at The Source, George Fullerton, who told her about a course that The Source offer which is fully funded to businesses who meet certain criteria. After attending the first of three sessions on 4th September, Deborah started making changes to their online strategy straight away. Whilst they were already using some social media platforms, Deborah was inspired to start using twitter and the business soon had over 600 followers. She also set up a Google plus page which was seen by 7,500 people in the first week. Speaking about the positive impact attending the course has had on their sales; Deborah said “We knew the course was worth going on as soon as we looked at our

The Source are now offering fully funded* web and social media training *Eligibility criteria apply

For further information or to check your eligibility please contact Laura Vincent on 0114 2635650 or email

October sales. Our October 2014 sales were up 40% compared to October 2013 and we know that isn’t a coincidence”. In the run up to Remembrance Sunday on 11th November, Vivid Jewellery sold over 2,000 rhinestone encrusted poppies. “I wasn’t sure how many we would sell so only ordered 500 limited edition ones with the wording 1914-2014, but they sold out within days with people travelling from across the region just to see them. 10% of the proceeds went to The Royal British Legion which amounted to £2300. This donation will go to the local serving and ex-Service community and their families” said Deborah. “We took so much away from the course that has helped us build the business, not only from the fantastic trainer Dina Holland at The Source but also from being around other small businesses; learning what they do differently and sharing best practice”. Frequent customer Marcia Killner said “I visit Vivid Jewellery every week for the great jewellery and affordable prices. Deborah is a great listener and always goes the extra mile for her customers. It’s so exciting to see the business growing in strength; she really deserves it”.

by Kiley Tan from Wosskow Brown Kiley Tan, Partner and Head of the Corporate Commercial Department at Wosskow Brown provides his views on the retail sector in 2014 and what to look forward to in 2015. Q: What has been your take of how well retailers have done in 2014?

The Bill is still making its passage through Parliament but it promises to be a substantial change.

A: I think the talk about doom and gloom is giving way to confidence within the industry and this would probably be reflected in the retail figures for December 2014. The successful retailers are those who know and understand their customers, and everything they do is catered toward fulfilling their customer’s needs.

Q: How would it affect retailers? A: The details are still being debated in Parliament and there may still be some changes ahead. For example, for the first time, digital content will be caught under the provisions. Also, a consumer’s right to reject will be far clearer than the position.

Q: Is this trend likely to continue to 2015? Q: When will the Bill come into power? A: Barring any real shocks to the economy, I think that this trend will continue. Those retailers who have survived the recession now need to focus their efforts in expanding and gaining market share. Those who may still be struggling with historic debts will need to consider advice on restructuring their business in order to grow again. Q: What do retailers need to be aware in 2015?

A: Possibly at the end of this Parliament depending upon whether there is enough time. Q: What would you say to retailers who may be impacted by the changes brought in by the Bill? A: Whilst the provisions are supposed to simplify the position for both the retailers and consumers, existing retailers would probably need to update their terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with the rules to be implemented.

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A: One of the biggest changes will be the new Consumer Rights Bill which seeks to combine various parts of the existing law into one piece of legislation.

Kiley Tan from Wosskow Brown

Sheffield Bid Steps Up its Vote The campaign to encourage businesses to create the first City Region, business led Business Improvement District (BID) that aims to deliver high footfall, vibrancy and economic growth in Sheffield city centre is now well underway. Sheffield BID would raise £4 million over 5 years from businesses with a rateable value of £30,000 and over agreeing to a 1% levy on their business rates. The money would be used to deliver projects that would further enhance the city centre. 640 businesses are in the Sheffield BID boundary - commonly known as the ‘old’ inner city centre ring road. In November 2014 the BID Champions launched their Proposed Prospectus following a year-long consultation process. The 24-page document sets out what the scheme is, how it will be funded and how it will improve the heart of the city for businesses, residents and visitors over the next five years and beyond. The Final Prospectus will be available in January 2015 for businesses to vote on in the ballot period between 12 February and 12 March 2015. BID Champion Chair James Prince, Managing Director of John Lewis in Sheffield said: “For me, the Sheffield BID is an easy sell. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with businesses across all sectors to make a real positive, lasting difference to our city centre. With the progression of the New Retail Quarter and the redevelopment of The Moor, there are going to be some big changes in Sheffield over the coming years and we want to make sure we’re in a position to take advantage of that. We

also believe that this process has benefitted the city already as for the first time the different business sectors have been working together more effectively – everyone has something to bring to the table..” The Prospectus outlines five key themes – Together, Busier, Easier, Cleaner and Safer. The Sheffield BID will contribute to making the City Centre a real destination of choice for leisure, study, work and to live. If the BID secures a ‘Yes’ vote, the LEP Retail Group are keen to utilize the experience of Sheffield and offer support to other towns and district centres across the City Region area to see if a BID could work in their area.


gain recognition for its customer service The Source Skills Academy is working with SMEs towards having the region recognised as a WorldHost Destination.

believes it is important to encourage staff to undertake training activities in order for them to deliver the best possible service.

Achieving WorldHost status would let customers know they can expect to receive outstanding service when they visit South Yorkshire and would help promote the area as a tourist destination.

“45 out of 75 members of the team completed their WorldHost Customer Service training between April and July 2014 and already we are seeing results through our customer feedback,” said Gil.

In order to achieve this recognition, 25 per cent of businesses in the region must achieve WorldHost Recognised Business Standards requiring each of them to train 50 per cent of their front-line staff using the WorldHost training programmes.

“One of the reasons we put our employees through the training was to achieve WorldHost status and to become one of the businesses that is contributing towards the region achieving destination status – something that will ultimately benefit the business community as a whole. The region is already viewed as a very friendly one and this should translate into the service we are offering our customers.”

To help achieve these targets The Source has secured funding to enable companies to undertake the courses free of charge. One local business which has undertaken the training is Specsavers at Crystal Peaks, Sheffield. The company has been in business for 19 years and director Gil Vasey

In addition to funding for businesses in South Yorkshire, businesses in the Retail, Hospitality or Leisure and Tourism sectors based in the Sheffield City Region may also be eligible for funding.

For more information and to check if your business is eligible please contact Tom Lindop on 0114 263 5600 or email

d l e fi f e h S g e n v i e p i l h e c H A n o i g e R t y t s i o C H World n Status o i t a n i t ost s H e d l r D Wo nded* aining fu e Tr c i v Fully r e mer S the Source o t s u C e at l b a l i apply a i r ava e t i ty cr ili


*For more information and to check if your business is eligible please contact Tom Lindop on 0114 2635000 or email The Source Skills Academy 0114 263 5600 | |

Partner at PwC shares his thoughts on ‘Total Retail’. Randal Casson, PwC’s retail leader in Yorkshire, said; ‘Today’s customer does not differentiate between where they heard about, researched, saw, purchased or returned a product. They expect to be able to shop anytime, anywhere and through any channel. “But many retailers still think in terms of siloed shopping channels, where physical stores and online sales are treated as standalone pipelines to the consumer. This often leads to trade promotions being inconsistent across channels, products being unavailable in-store because units have been sent from distribution centres to fulfill web orders, customer loyalty information is haphazardly applied across channels, and even basic customer payment information has to be re-typed again and again. The costs and complexities of continuing on this path are too great and offer too few rewards for the customer

experience. It’s a faulty formula doomed to failure. “In addition, today’s non-stop customers have taken things into their own hands and are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. Customers have embraced show-rooming, learnt how to exploit their own shopping data for deals, and become experts at taking advantage of online coupons and offers. “And so the demand for retailers to achieve Total Retail is becoming key to their survival. Total Retail is about achieving a unified brand across all channels. While retailers are fond of saying that customers are educated and empowered as never before, Total Retail entails doing something about it by focusing the retail business model on the customer. In our experience, individual solutions for each channel are not enough. What’s needed is a Total Retail business model transformation that incorporates supply chain,

marketing and sales, and finance.” “Put it another way - the Customer is still King, or Queen - no change there. But the internet gives us, the Customer, so many more ways for this to be true. Retailers, and their management teams, need to be responsive to this, or watch their customers go elsewhere.” Read more about Total Retail in our latest report, available from 9 February 2015 gx/en/retail-consumer/retail-consumer-publications/ global-multi-channel-consumer-survey/index.jhtml

Retail Matters Chesterfield Champion Northern Tea Merchants is a third generation family business established in 1959.

Germany, Spain, Canada and even Taiwan have all got their small armies of Northern Tea Merchants devotees!

From its beginnings of one van and door-to-door sales, the business is virtually unrecognisable today – retailing its products, which it sources, blends and packs, from its premises on Chesterfield’s thriving Chatsworth Road, with its well-known shop and café, through its website and through national wholesale accounts which include big names in the hospitality industry and national food retailers such as Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Harrods.

James explains: “Prior to having an online sales strategy, the overseas market isn’t one we would have approached in our marketing efforts, preferring to concentrate on the UK. To have made in-roads into the US, France and Spain purely through internet sales has created a potential platform for future growth for the business.”

Through these retail channels, Northern Tea Merchants deals on both an international and local level. It now manufactures approximately 100 million tea bags per year and roasting some 200 tonnes of coffee per year, all from its site in Chesterfield.

James continued: “Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have also allowed us to interact with our customers and attract new ones like never before. Being able to share our information and products to a wider audience is only going to develop our brand awareness further and is something we are quite excited about.”

The company began online retailing in 2004. This was on a small scale and involved email orders. Recognising the potential in online sales to compliment the businesses physical high street presence, Director James Pogson invested in a full ecommerce website and social media strategy in 2014.

Northern Tea Merchants care passionately about their products and personally taste-test every single tea and coffee to ensure the very best taste and quality for their customers. The same motto has always been applied, ‘Would I be happy with this tea or coffee?’ to any products bought or manufactured.

The development of the company’s social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter - are a powerful tool in raising awareness of the brand as well as generating online sales and enquiries.

Some of their customers have been drinking Northern Tea Merchants teas for over 70 years! The reason? James said: “Because we sell good quality. Simply that!

Through the website, Northern Tea Merchants is selling their high-quality, well-packed teas and coffees throughout the world. Russia, America, France, Finland,

“We firmly believe that ‘It Pays to Buy Good Tea’, and with over 80 different teas and 40 coffees to choose from – we really do have something for everyone!”


and the weather of course! From Neil Grant, Managing Director of Ferndale Garden Centre. Garden Centres are retailers but with some variables that other retailers rarely experience. We all need footfall, and for as many months as possible. Garden centres are too seasonal. If we were to rely purely on ‘gardening’ only we would be out of business. The great British gardener doesn’t exist anymore. The majority of us remember we have a garden sometime in early spring when it starts to warm up and the sun shines. This is often about the time the lawn needs its first cut. Once the ‘spring switch’ is flicked the spring rush starts with consumers hampered by lack of time and knowledge and put off by the weather. Recent research by garden trade associations categorises garden users into lifestyle types. For example one is those with Al Fresco Garden Aspirations whose ideal use for a garden to be a place where they relax or entertain guests. The amount of garden use is dependant on sunny and warm weather, with many of the participants agreeing that they would take part in hobbies like reading, listening to music on a sunny day outside which they wouldn’t do if they were inside the house. A place for al fresco dining as well would be perfect.

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Today’s garden consumers have not inherited much garden knowledge unlike previous generations. Increasingly our job is to break ‘gardening’ down into easy and manageable parts. Garden centres in the 13 week spring need to become supermarket like in stock movement and replenishment allowing the remainder of the year to offer ‘experiences’ often including with ‘gardening’ education. Recent events such as food fairs, floral evenings and patio planting, enable the Al Fresco Garden Aspirations group to participate in the softer aspects of gardening while learning some basic tips too. Many aspirational garden users families include children and activities that involve them all in family fun are attractive. Last summer’s undercover beach and accompanying ‘seaside’ menu drew families in during the long summer holidays. 2015 challenges all revolve around building footfall out of season and wherever possible the ‘Experience Economy’ principal using events, static displays, demonstrations and workshops is essential. To draw consumers back ‘bounce back’ leaflets and offer from the check out plus social media, data base email marketing and press releases will together contribute to publicity. Road side banners have also proved very cost effective. The biggest traffic builder for garden centres has been the introduction of coffee shops. While some specialist retail nurseries thrive without one, garden centres appealing to a younger, time poor families with little garden knowledge use them to help flatten out the troughs in trade. Changing consumer perceptions, the climatic changes and lack of knowledge mean there are great opportunities for the garden retailers if they know what’s going on. Ideas, experiences, education, & fun are the keys to footfall in 2015 for retailers who are not trading commodity products.

There is a saying “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”. It’s this was update to “If you always do what you always did, you will always get…. less and less”. By the way we sell plants too and they are living. Tending live products needs training and passion. Selling great plants is still essential.

Retail Matters Issue 10  
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