Retail Matters Sheffield City Region - Retail Hub of the North
In this issue: Exciting developments in Bolsover Events programme drives shoppers to Sheffield City Centre
Rotherhamâ€™s High Street transformation Millhouses retailers work together
Photo of Bolsover Lantern Parade courtesy of Jake Aubrey Bentley
Welcome to Our ninth edition of Retail Matters focuses on how some of the key areas around the Sheffield City Region have been looking to their events calendar to draw visitors onto their high streets; increasing footfall and enabling them to develop their retail offering. It’s fantastic to see how well Bolsover have done since starting their ‘Discover Bolsover’ project earlier this year. With an exciting events programme and a focus on good PR and marketing of the area, they have already made a great start in putting Bolsover on the map.
December is upon us and the end of the year is drawing closer. Looking forward to 2015, there will be lots of opportunities for growth with businesses developing their online shopping and looking at options to export. We will continue to build on our Digital High Street Skills and WorldHost Customer service courses which were launched this year with 100% funding for lots of businesses in the region. Let us all work together to ensure that the Sheffield City region is recognised as a WorldHost destination by demonstrating the great hospitality that we are renowned for.
in the sector and its contribution to the economy1. The aim of the event is to encourage more people to build a career in the retail sector, rather than see it as a stopgap or a weekend job; something we here at The Source feel very passionate about. Start planning your involvement now and let’s get some great press for the Sheffield City Region and continue our work to build the region as the Retail Hub of the North.
Next year will also see the launch of a new annual event, organised by the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and the charity Retail Trust, called Retail Matters Week. Aptly named, the event will run from 9th to 15th of February and will feature events, apprenticeship programmes and other activities across the UK to showcase the career opportunities available
So all that leaves me to say is that I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we have enjoyed writing it and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2015.
Ann Cadman OBE Vice Chair of the Sheffield City Region Retail Forum and Managing Director of The Source Skills Academy.
From Robert Lane, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Retail Forum.
The shopping ‘experience’ still seems to be important and in order to be successful; our retail centres must include a variety of attractions which should include a strong food and beverage offer. New centres such as Trinity in Leeds have reminded us how important this is and I am sure this will be a strong consideration when planning the new retail quarter in Sheffield City Centre. To get the full range of views expressed you will have to read the article in the next issue of Insider magazine.
Recently I represented the Sheffield City Region as part of a round table discussion arranged by Insider magazine entitled ‘The Future of High Street Retail in Yorkshire’. Contributors include a shopping centre landlord, a retailer, an online retail expert and a branding expert.
Finally may I wish all the readers, whether they own a shopping centre, have High Street shops, run an on-line retail business or just enjoy shopping, a successful and enjoyable festive season.
The initial premise that there was ‘no future for High Street retail as everyone will shop online’ was challenged and did not stand up to argument. It was agreed that as a result of their online presence, many major retailers would not need as many High Street outlets as in the past but they would still need to have units in the major centres acting as extra show rooms and locations for ‘click and collect’. Indeed some retailers suggest that customers collecting items ordered on line often spend more when in the store. The importance of building a brand was highlighted, although the view is that there is less brand loyalty now than in the past and that the quality of the product, the price and the level of service are just as important factors in attracting customers. This led to the conclusion that there is a place on our High Street for strong independent retailers offering this.
Image courtesy of Falconer Associates
From Richard Eyre, Head of City Centre Management and Major Events at Sheffield City Council. With its world-renowned reputation for delivering first class events, Sheffield hosts more than 80 major sporting, cultural, community and children’s events each year. By analysing the footfall rates for the city centre around these events we can see considerable spikes which are invaluable to our ongoing work to put Sheffield City Centre’s retail offering on the map. 2014 has seen a successful programme of events including Doc Fest, the Food Festival, MADE, Festival of the Mind, the Snooker Championships, Sheffield by the Seaside and of course the biggest event of the year; the finish of Stage 2 of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, which brought an estimated 250,000 visitors to the city. The 23rd November will see the city centre’s Christmas Light Switch On event, driving thousands of visitors into the centre where they can see various acts perform in the Peace Gardens, peruse the Christmas markets and enjoy fairground rides. Compared to previous years, the event has taken a more traditional turn, moving away from the pop concert headlined by big-name artists and focusing on a more varied programme, where visitors can move around and see what the city centre has to offer. Young families will be pleased to see their
favourite children’s TV characters and possibly even spot Father Christmas! Looking to 2015, one aim is to build on the Tour de France legacy, further kindling the city’s love of cycling with the Sky ride and Cycling Grand Prix which is set to be an event for all the family with people encouraged to cycle the route themselves as well as watching the elite sportsmen and women. Something we want to move away from in our events programme is relying too heavily on the Fargate precinct. The city centre has so much to offer and it is important to spread our events around areas such as the Peace Gardens, Devonshire Green, The Moor and the Cathedral to show our visitors what Sheffield has to offer. The Moor Market is now one year old and it continues to be part of our strategy to integrate the area with the rest of the city centre through our events; there will be a full calendar of events in there over the festive period including a stunning animatronic polar bear.
totalling £840k per year spread across 5 key project areas; Easier, Cleaner, Safer, Busier and Together, which will have a major effect on the city centre and its businesses. There is a picture of doom and gloom, which is often painted of UK High Streets with talk of falling footfall and higher vacancy rates, but there is also so much to be excited about and to look forward to for Sheffield City Centre in the years to come.
Retail Matters Next year will be an exciting year and one which will be even better if we are successful in securing the Sheffield Business Improvement District, an investment
From Bernadette Rushton, Retail Investment Manager at Rotherham Borough Council. Rotherham town has centre has undoubtedly been transformed in recent years; increased footfall, a reduced vacancy rate and the attraction of a new type of shopper are testament to the town’s position as the independent alternative; the activities to bring shoppers back to the High Street have bagged the town acclaim at a national level. In essence the strategy for the town has focussed on celebrating all that is unique and different about Rotherham, making the most of our impressive historic buildings and streets, creating public squares and gardens that provide a perfect setting to relax, helping our independent businesses to thrive and offer something truly different to Rotherham shopperscreating a shopping and leisure experience that cannot be replicated by our competitors. The retail offer continues to strengthen with over 150 independent shops offering quality produce and customer service that’s second to none. The incentives through grants, bespoke business support and Pop up Shops have allowed several Rotherham entrepreneurs to realise their dream of opening their own business
and alongside retailers that have traded here for several years they are changing the face of the town centre. The ongoing support through the ‘Portas Pilot’ initiative and subsequent scoop of the biggest share of national High Street Renewal Fund has ensured 2014 has been one to remember, not least with 3,000 sq. ft. of refurbished retail floorspace on Rotherham’s historic High Street now housing products made and designed locally by over 30 makers and crafters at The Makers Emporium. This progress is set to continue as yet more buildings are restored and brought back into use, ready to house the growing list of retailers seeking to locate in Rotherham. Events and entertainment are a key part of creating an attractive offer and the themes for our events have also followed the alternative suit; traditional sea-side fun at the annual Rotherham by-the-sea event, the magic of Christmas with the real reindeer parade, Dickensian markets and fayres bringing nostalgia and tradition and new for 2014 Rotherham’s first Vintage Hop, celebrating the 40’s and 50’s. The already bustling and award winning street market also offers themed markets throughout the year and this looks sets to
grow in 2015 as the planned programme will bring the colour and vibrancy of the popular continental markets on three dates to be announced. The key now is to spread the word and encourage Rotherham residents to see for themselves what the town can offer them- making it their resolution for 2015 to keep their money in the local economy by supporting their town. The 2014 Gift Guide show cases the best of what we have to offer giving shoppers great gift ideas and opening their eyes to the value of shopping locally. Despite a continuing challenge for town centres nationally and some worrying statistics in struggling towns, Rotherham is bucking the trend and has, and will, continue to offer something different right here on the doorstep.
Following a successful bid to secure European funding, the historic Derbyshire town is being rejuvenated and turned into a must-see tourist destination. Already retailers are reaping the benefits. Famed for its castle which is passed daily by thousands of commuters on the M1 motorway travelling past junction 29A, Bolsover is going back to its historic roots in order to build a stronger economy for the future. With the help of £750k of European regional development funding secured by Bolsover District Council, as well as match funding from High Street Innovation Funding, the Council and Old Bolsover Town Council, the town is becoming a thriving tourist spot, boosting revenues for local traders.
Retail Matters “We’re really excited about next year’s event as the timing is perfect with the changes happening in the town. We’re aiming to cover every aspect of antiques for all budgets, so we’d love to hear from anyone interested in exhibiting.” Carol Ford
who took over Bolsover Antique Centre last year
Bolsover is undergoing something of a transformation... This month Retail Matters takes a look at the hive of activity going on in Bolsover and speaks to some of the key people playing a significant role in its redevelopment. The first step in the campaign was the creation of a new brand ‘Discover Bolsover’ and the town now has its own logo and website; www.discoverbolsover.co.uk. The website highlights the many exciting things to see and do in Bolsover and also features the vast array of independent shops and traders, venues to eat and drink and places to sleep.
A significant amount of money is being invested in town centre improvements, including signage and interpretation, a family events programme, marketing, social media and PR, plus tools to help local traders promote themselves.
The beer was designed to accompany local delicacy ‘The Beast’; a chilli and garlic salami named after Dennis Skinner. The salami is made by Jaquest Fine Foods, a Bolsover based award-winning delicatessen and smokehouse and has been praised by both David Cameron and George Osbourne.
The town centre improvements have seen the development of a new ‘public realm’ within the Bolsover Conservation Area, which is home to a range of heritage assets covering a long period of history. This includes the Grade I listed Bolsover Castle (which attracted around 90,000 visitors in 2014) and its Conduit Houses, the Grade II listed New Bolsover Model Village, and the Scheduled Ancient Monuments of the Town Entrenchments; a rare 12th Century ‘city wall’ type structure that still circles part of the town. The £398K of improvements, which are being carried out by NM (North Midland) Construction Plc will be completed in November, include stone paving, a lighting scheme, stone bollards around the cenotaph, stone benching, and electric points to power a significant programme of events planned for Bolsover in future months and years. Dennis Skinner, MP for Bolsover, said, “It’s fantastic to see Bolsover being given proper investment that will really show off the best of what our town has to offer. The castle brings in thousands of visitors every year, and it’s great to see the residents and traders being given a chance to make the most of this appeal. I’m watching the developments with interest, and hope all our visitors enjoy their time in brilliant Bolsover.”
Owner of Jaquest Fine Foods
Retail Matters Sarah Townsend from Castle Oven bakery
Sarah Townsend, local town trader from Castle Oven bakery, said, “It’s great to see the town being given a new lease of life and exciting to see how things are shaping up since we heard the news about the investment. We’re really pleased with the logo, which reflects our local heritage, while giving Bolsover a modern new look. I hope visitors to the town like it just as much as we do!” Bolsover District Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Alan Tomlinson said, “A lot of planning and development work has gone on behind the scenes to create a new look that brings our rich local history to life but also shows off Bolsover as a destination for the 21st Century visitor. We are working hard to get as much value as possible out of the funds, which were awarded for very specific purposes. We’re absolutely delighted with the logo and looking forward to seeing the town transformed over the next year or so.”
Indeed, visitors to Bolsover do appear to enjoy their time there. Over the summer huge crowds flocked to the town’s inaugural food and drink festival, which proved a real hit for traders, so much so that next year’s event has already been planned for 25th and 26th July. Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli, who entertained food lovers with cooking demonstrations said, “It’s a great town, I’ve had a great time and I’ll see everyone back in Bolsover next year!” Real ale fans were treated to master classes by world renowned beer guru Roger Protz who officially uncorked a new Bolsover tipple created by the local RAW Brewery, commenting: “This region is packed full of great breweries and RAW have done a great job with their Jewel on the Hill.” The new beer was brewed especially to celebrate the rebirth of Bolsover and the building of the new public realm. David Hemstock of Raw Brewery based near Bolsover said, “We’re quite excited about the changes taking place in the town centre of Bolsover this year, and thought this was a good way of celebrating a new era for this market town.”
For more information on Bolsover, visit www.discoverbolsover.co.uk.
Following on from the success of the food and drink festival Bolsover will stage its first ever Antiques and Collectors Fair on the 24th May 2015. Organisers aim to attract dealers from across the region and beyond to fill the streets with everything from high end collectables to quirky shabby chic. Andrew Tristram, Bolsover Town Clerk, said, “People already travel from far and wide to shop at the excellent Bolsover Antiques Centre, which is our organising partner for this event. With our historical town as the backdrop, we hope the Bolsover Antiques and Collectors Fair will become one of our signature annual events, attracting visitors to enjoy soaking up an atmosphere steeped in history.” Bolsover Antique Centre is home to 42 individual antiques dealers, selling everything from vintage tobacco boxes and 1950s records, to grandfather clocks, WWI soldier uniforms and home decor. Another exciting event for the town is the Christmas Festival and Lantern Parade, now in its 21st year. The event, free for the public, comprises of a Christmas Market selling gifts, crafts, food and drinks, with family entertainment throughout the day. Local breweries will be selling real ales and festive tipples, with the much loved lantern parade being the finale of the day.
Focus on... Retail Matters Home to one of Sheffield’s best loved parks, there is no shortage of visitors to Millhouses. But there is more to this picturesque village than its leisure space – it has plenty to offer in terms of retail.
Nearby, Victoria J Smith Opticians stocks the latest range of Adidas and Bolle sport glasses for tennis, golf, sailing and fishing, as well as a range of sunglasses and contact lenses for all prescriptions. The shop also collects unwanted glasses for Vision Aid Overseas, helping people in developing countries to improve their vision.
With its origins as a small hamlet that grew around the Ecclesall Corn Mill, Millhouses is a delightful area of Sheffield, renowned for its 31.8 acre park. There are also three schools, three pubs, three churches, plenty of residents and numerous intriguing small shops.
Pet Company, opened in 1995 by Nicola and Bill Ward, is another Millhouses favourite. The shop stocks a wide range of pet accessories and foods. In fact it stocks so much that when the unit next door became available the owners took the opportunity to knock through, making a double fronted store. The shop is now busier than ever and is proud to offer regular money saving deals and monthly special offers.
The Millhouses Traders Association (MTA) is the area’s local retail group which aims to provide excellent customer service to ensure repeat custom and give expertise and experience in each member’s relevant fields. The existence of the MTA means its local shops all work hard to fulfil the needs of customers and provide an excellent retail experience. One such shop is Woodhouse Florist, established in 1955 by Mr and Mrs Woodhouse. The shop prides itself on providing flowers for all occasions such as births, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings as well as providing corporate offerings to car showrooms and hotels. Woodhouse Florist is the proud floral provider to Rotherham United’s New York stadium. Another long-standing shop is Millhouses Travel Worldwide, established over 30 years ago. The family run business is proud of its customer service, backed up by what is thought to be the most experienced travel team in the area. The independent shop creates unique travel experiences for its customers, whether it be a city break, a family week in the sun, a luxury cruise or an intrepid adventure.
A much newer edition to this diverse selection of retailers is Redbrik Estate Agents. Speaking about what it was like to join an established group of retailers, Branch Manager David Cooper said; “Redbrik have been operating in Millhouses since March, 2014 and are proud to be part of the local community. We love helping people sell and buy their homes and offering a high level of customer service with jargon free approach to estate agency. We aim to continue to grow our business within the local area for many years to come”. Chair of Millhouses Traders Association Darrell Johnson said “Millhouses is a fantastic area of Sheffield with its park and independent shops. The members of the MTA are passionate about providing a great service to the local community. With Christmas around the corner, our customers can find a wide array of gifts for their loved ones and on the 13th December we will be holding the third MTA Millhouses Christmas Market where there will be a range of diverse stalls selling everything from mince pies to handmade crafts.”
For more information please contact Darrell at Woodhouse Florist on 0114 236 2699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ecclesall and Sharrow Vale Road, Banner Cross; putting retail in a wider context We spoke to Paul Iseard, the owner of The Famous Sheffield Shop about this beautiful area and how retail sits in a context comprising of a myriad of environmental, cultural, social and historical factors. “For many years, the stretch of ‘Eccy Road’ from the City Centre to Banner Cross has been known as Sheffield’s Golden mile. There are nearly 400 businesses in this area which boasts a unique mix of independent shops and up market high street names. The strong and vibrant community here and the proximity of the two Universities bring a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere to the area. This is a perfect place for a leisurely day out; shops, cafes and restaurants galore, plus three important green spaces. On one side of Ecclesall Road there is access to Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens which houses a magnificent set of pavilions and has been restored to its original Victorian layout designed by Robert Marnock. It also boasts an open bear pit, which has obscure origins and the gardens are now home to live concerts, art shows, plant sales and open air theatre. Across the road is the cemetery; another landscape design by Robert Marnock. In recent years it has been sympathetically landscaped and restored thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the General Cemetery. Rising up the side of the hill, this lovely area with its Egyptian style architecture, trees and paths, is the last resting place of many of Sheffield’s finest sons and daughters.
The third green space is Endcliffe Park. On a summer’s day there is a seaside atmosphere where children can paddle in the stream and fish with nets in the pond. Picnics, informal games and sunbathing take place on the large flat grass area. Ice creams plus children’s fairground rides are freely available at the cafe and there is also a modern playground. Starting at Hunters Bar and running parallel to Ecclesall Road is Sharrow Vale Road. Locals like to spend Saturday mornings doing their “Sharrow Shop.” Starting with the butchers and finishing with the fruit and veg shop, the variety of goods available from the independent shops lining the street is impressive: including a deli, an artisan bread shop, an off-licence, an organic food specialist, a wet fish shop, a hardware store and a pet shop. Visitors can enjoy the cafes, restaurants and art galleries all this the space of 400 metres! Sharrow Vale Market; a well established Sunday street market brings with it a carnival atmosphere. Re-entering Ecclesall Road yet more independent businesses happily co-exist with a number of high street cafes, supermarkets, fashion stores, electronics specialists, cafes and restaurants. This theme continues above Hunters Bar as the road rises up to Banner Cross, which has an historic link to Charlie Peace, one of Sheffield’s most famous criminals! This part of Sheffield also has a very active night life, featuring a casino, sports bars and a fantastic choice of restaurants. For the active and inquisitive visitor, this area has everything and deserves a full day out to appreciate the variety of attractions. I think that it is very important for a retail offering to be considered in its wider context, especially with the rise of online shopping; customers are looking for the complete experience to draw them to the high street.”
If you are interested in submitting an editorial feature for future issues of Retail Matters, please contact Emily Wright for further information on 0114 2635625 or email@example.com
Christmas With Christmas just around the corner, we spoke to Darren Pearce, Centre Director at Meadowhall to find out what the centre is doing to boost footfall and give customers the best possible experience this festive season. Darren said, “Christmas is a really exciting time at Meadowhall Shopping Centre and this year will not disappoint! We’ve been planning this year’s events since spring to make sure we give our visitors a truly magical experience.” “The centre has taken on over 1000 new team members across the retailers to ensure we give our customers the best possible service when they come through our doors. From 3rd November we will be open an extra hour until 10pm and from 8th December, we will open until 11pm to give our customers even more choice when to shop.” “The Meadowhall Light Switch On concert, attended by over 15,000 people last year, traditionally marks the start of Christmas for Meadowhall. We have hosted some of the world most popular artists over the past few years and this year we have a sensational line up planned for 6th November with artists Professor Green, Union J and Alexa Goddard.” “We are also holding a one-off event in aid of our charity for the year, St Luke’s Hospice. The 1st November will see a new world record attempt for the most people Centre Director Darren Pearce (right) and Retail Director Mark Bruce (left) with staff from Primark, Topshop, Topman, Next and River Island. wearing Christmas jumpers; it’s going to be a fantastic event that everyone can take part in, whilst helping an amazing local charity. The Christmas jumper was the must have seasonal item last year which is set to be even bigger for 2014 and with the weather turning cold and the nights quickly drawing in, winter is well and truly here and as a result these cheerful designs are already flying off the shelves at many of our retailers.” “We can’t wait to begin the festivities this year and wish all of our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
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