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Retail Hub of the North... In this issue: The importance of retail in Sheffield An update on the retail sector group Barnsley bucking the trend Christmas in the Sheffield City Region Ann Cadman and the red iron Focus on The Button Tin, Rotherham
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Welcome… ...to Retail Matters This month we highlight preparations which councils, shopping centres and retailers are making for the Christmas period, when additional retail activity will help to stimulate growth, create jobs and attract visitors to the Sheffield City Region. I would like to share with you some published statistics which demonstrate the extent to which the retail sector contributes to our economy throughout the year:
• The retail sector is the second largest employer in Sheffield, providing jobs to 30,600 people1. Nationally the retail sector is responsible for 12% of total UK investment in training2; • Retail generates considerable economic value and is a key driver of growth in the UK. Retail Sales totalled £303 billion in 2011 (20% of the UK’s GDP) and the sector grew by 3.4% between 2010 and 2011 (compared to an average growth of 0.4% across all sectors)3; • The retail sector is a significant outsourcer – retailers purchase around £180 billion worth of good for resale every year, and supports £47 billion of output from other sectors such as construction and transport4; • The retail sector pays around £17.5 billion each year in net VAT payments, National Insurance, PAYE and business rates5 and, crucially, is the principle route to market for many other sectors within the UK6.
European Institute for Urban Affairs: Benchmarking Sheffield, 2007 – Appendix 1, p111 UK Retail: Leading Globally, Serving Locally, 2012 p5
It is therefore important to emphasise that retail does matter in the Sheffield City Region, and never more so than at Christmas – during the last decade retail sales have jumped by an average of 60% during December alone7. The Christmas markets organised by councils, the Christmas lights at Meadowhall, and diverse range of innovative independent retailers will all contribute to the Sheffield City Region’s magical retail offer this Christmas and will play an invaluable role in establishing the Region as the Retail Hub of the North. Keep your stories coming in, and I hope you enjoy this edition of Retail Matters. Ann Cadman Vice Chair of the Sheffield City Region Retail Forum and Director of The Source Skills Academy
7 Centre for Retail Research: Christmas 2012 http://www.retailresearch.org/shoppingforxmas.php
Barnsley Bucking the trend From Cllr Roy Miller, Barnsley Council Cabinet Member for Development Environment and Culture
Barnsley town centre is leading the way on vacant ground floor retail unit numbers with an average of 4.4% compared to a national average of 11.1%. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s supportive approach to town centre business development and its commitment to help establish and grow new and existing small and medium sized enterprises’ within both the daytime and evening economy has helped Barnsley to buck the trend. Mr Peter Birkby, Town Centre Executive Chair said, “Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council provide a pro-active town centre team for business support to enhance new and existing businesses as well as for the customer.” Mr Ben Dixon Manager of Joseph Bramahs, Wetherspoon agrees that these are the reasons why Barnsley has bucked the trend. “As a founder member of the Evening Economy Forum, I have worked closely with the BMBC
Town Centre Development Manager and the town centre management team and they have always been actively supportive and very informative. They work well as a team and have strived to help and work with both the day and evening economy which I find refreshing and unique from other towns and cities that I have worked in”. Chris Barton, Market Trader is currently expanding one business and opening two new ventures, totalling three new units within the town centre whilst still maintaining his successful market stall. Chris says, “The BMBC Town Centre Team understand the needs of retailers, and provide realistic advice overheads and this support has given me the confidence to grow my business.”
No wonder Barnsley was recently mentioned in the Daily Mirror as “The finest market in the County”.
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The Importance of retail to our region From John Mothersole, Chief Executive at Sheffield City Council
Local authorities are big organisations involved in lots of things. Given all that we do, it would not be unreasonable to speculate as to what on earth do we know about retail and why does retail matter to us? So, what do I know about retail? Firstly, credit for my knowledge must go to those involved in the retail industry in our City Region who are never slow to tell me what they know and what they think! I hope I am a good listener. I do know that it is the single largest private sector employer in the country, and the second largest in my city of Sheffield. I do know that it is not just about shops and shopping. 12% of total UK investment in training comes from the retail sector. I am aware that it is a very entrepreneurial sector with 45% employed in companies with less than 25 employees. That is an even higher figure when you look at our own region. I also know that it is a sector that has grown and will grow. In the first decade of this century its growth rate far outstripped the average for the whole economy, and despite the troubled times in which we live it is projected to have an annual growth rate of 2.7% up to 2020. And lastly, if you put aside the fairly obvious buying
of goods from suppliers for resale, retail also supports £47 billion of output from other sectors. So why should a local authority be interested in retail? Well clearly there is the fairly obvious jobs opportunity that it brings. But it isn’t just about that. Retail helps make a place. It defines character, it provides vibrancy, it services communities and it attracts visitors. Conversely, without retail, much of that will not happen. There is also though an emerging new opportunity which is to service the retail sector with innovation and to start to capitalise on the emerging trend of bringing manufacturing back to the UK. Already we have seen some of the biggest retail groups in the UK increasing the number of British factories that they use for the supply of goods. So, done right, with the right support and with the right ambition, retail can be a classic
economic opportunity that brings jobs, values innovation, needs a supply chain and helps make a place. However, like any opportunity we have to recognise that the present is certainly unfinished business. We have some absolute retail stars like Meadowhall. We have, if we are to put it kindly, some opportunities still to be realised. I am up for the challenge, I think by definition the readers of this magazine will be up for it. That’s not a bad starting point.
An update on the retail sector group
From Dr Ruth Adams, Growth Strategy Director for the Sheffield City Region Executive Team
Local leaders from across the private and public sector are currently working together on important plans to ensure that the Sheffield City Region’s economy grows and creates jobs in the future. Business and council leaders from across the Sheffield City Region came together in early September to discuss what is needed to stimulate economic growth and create jobs over the next decade. The Local Enterprise Partnership invited business and council leaders from Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield to identify the key future priorities for the Sheffield City Region. Representatives from the Retail Sector Group made sure that the views of the retail industry were given the attention they deserve. The sector group was represented at the event by Sector Group Chairman Robert Lane (Lane Walker Property Limited) and Vice-Chair Ann Cadman (The Source). Ann has been selected by the Sector Group to represent the retail sector on the LEP’s Growth Plan Steering Group. Meadowhall Centre Director Darren Pearce also attended the event and represents
the sports, leisure and tourism sector on the LEP’s Growth Plan Steering Group. James Newman, LEP Chairman, said, “This was an incredibly positive event which shows the significant scale of ambition of leaders in the Sheffield City Region. It is clear that leaders from the public and private sector are keenly committed to working together to create economic growth and jobs for our City Region.” The Retail Sector Group was established by the Local Enterprise Partnership in 2008 to represent the views of the retail industry. Retail is estimated to be worth over £1.6 billion to the Sheffield City Region, and it is one of the biggest employers with a workforce of 79,000 people, so the LEP was very interested in what Robert Lane and Ann Cadman had to say. The vision of the Retail Sector Group is ‘to develop the Sheffield City Region as the premier shopping area of choice in the North of England… realised by developing a national
reputation for diversity of offer, dynamism, and excellent customer service’. The UK Government has asked the LEP set out the economic ambitions for the local area by the deadline of January 2014. Through its Growth Plan, the Sheffield City Region will compete with other UK areas for powers and funding to be handed down by Government. For more information on the Local Enterprise Partnership, Sector Groups and the Growth Strategy, visit www.sheffieldcityregion.org.uk
If you are interested in advertising in Retail Matters or submitting an editorial feature, please contact us for further information. Contacts - Martin Howard - t: 0114 265 6655 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ding, dong merrily on high the Sheffield City Region tills are ringing! It is impossible to overstate the importance of retail activity to the Sheffield City Region economy during the Christmas period. The Office for National Statistics estimates that average weekly spend across all retailing in the UK during December 2012 was £8.5 billion, compared with an average weekly spend of £6.8 billion during the previous months of the year1. This additional retail activity helps to stimulate growth, create jobs, grow independent business and attract retailers to the area. Here we delve a little further into what makes Christmas in the Sheffield City Region so special, and talk to councils, shopping centres and retailers about their plans for the festive season.
Festive preparations in Chesterfield and Sheffield
Chesterfield is set for a bumper Christmas period with the reopening of the historic Market Hall after a £4 million redevelopment. The town centre also boasts an impressive number of award-winning independent retailers offering gifts, jewellery, chocolate, tea and coffee as well as real ales. This year’s Christmas lights switch-on event takes place on Sunday 24 November at 5pm in the town centre market place and features pantomime stars from the Pomegranate Theatre, and customers will be able to buy presents at a special Christmas Market from 1 to 5pm. Councillor John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council's leader and vice-chairman of Destination Chesterfield says, “We are pleased to welcome back familiar faces to the Market Hall. All traders from the old Market Hall have been offered space, and we have also been able to offer space to several new local traders. The Market Hall offers customers an excellent choice of food from organisations such as Davidson's Cheese
Councillor John Burrows, Chesterfield Borough Council's Leader and Vice-Chairman of Destination Chesterfield
Factor, who now sell their own cheeses made at Hartington Creamery, including Peakland Blue (similar to blue Stilton) and Peakland White with cranberries and orange peel. The Hall is also home to an award winning butchers, Meadowfresh, who offer fresh Derbyshire butterfly turkeys and a selection of pies and hampers. “Customers will have the opportunity to see the new hall for themselves at the annual markets festival which is taking place from Thursday 31 October to Saturday 2 November, with a variety of different local produce and gift ideas on our open-air market as well as the CAMRA beer festival in the Market Hall. And if customers are tired after all that shopping, they can try out the new café, run by a local startup business which offers apprenticeships to local youngsters.” Plans are also taking shape for The Moor in Sheffield, which will once against be part of the biggest day in the city’s festive calendar. Over 35,000 people are expected to turn out to see Sheffield sparkle and enjoy the great variety of music, street performances and children’s activities. This year’s festive season will include the opening of the new Moor Market in November, delivering 195 stalls and eight new retail units to the famous Sheffield shopping street as part of ongoing improvements by Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Sandra Barley, Centre Liaison Manager for The Moor, said: “Christmas is always a fantastic time to be on the Moor and we are looking forward to hosting a host of activities and events as part of the city’s light switch on including a visit from Father Christmas and his reindeers, live nativity, children's activities and giveaways. This year will be a particularly exciting time for us with the opening of the new market building and I’m sure there will be a great buzz and real festive spirit all along the Moor as the street continues to evolve and offer shoppers an even better retail experience.”
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Retail Hub Christmas at Meadowhall Darren Pearce, Centre Director at Meadowhall Comments: “Christmas is a really exciting time at Meadowhall Shopping Centre - and this year is no exception! As a team we start to plan for Christmas as early as March: we know that preparation is key in giving shoppers a truly magical experience. “As a Centre we employ up to 7,000 staff during the festive season to help service the 6 million shoppers that come through the doors during December. From 28th October we will be open for an extra hour between Monday and Friday, giving our retailers the opportunity to trade for longer, and giving our customers more choice about the times they can shop. “The Meadowhall Light Switch On concert, attended by over 15,000 people, traditionally marks the start of Christmas for Meadowhall. We have hosted some of the country’s best known music artists over the past few years and, once again, have a sensational line up planned for 7th November this year… further information will be released on the Meadowhall website in due course! “This year’s Meadowhall Christmas Grotto will run between 14th November and 24th December – and is set to be our greatest ever,
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complete with an incredible external lightshow. The Centre’s new decorations, introduced only last year; 12,000 free car parking spaces for shoppers; our recently refurbished Oasis Dining Quarter and one of the best retail line ups outside London, including Victoria Secrets; The Lego Store and TK MAXX are just a few more reasons to put Meadowhall on your Christmas list this year! We look forward to welcoming you soon.”
Darren Pearce, Centre Director at Meadowhall
Christmas at Meadowhall - the Centre employs up to 7,000 staff during the Christmas period
Christmas planning at independent retailer Grounded Coffee
over 50 different blends. To put that in perspective, the weight of the grounded coffee sold was the equivalent of two fully grown Asian elephants!
Coffee and are an integral part of our preparations for this Christmas, and I am delighted that we have utilised our growth to benefit the local community in this way.
Christmas is a critically important time for retailers. Research released by the Centre for Retail Research in 2012 found that November and December accounted for an average of 21% of annual retail sales between 2001 and 20122 . Yet a successful Christmas period requires meticulous planning, nowhere more so than at Grounded Coffee, an independent retailer based at The Lanes in Meadowhall.
“Anthony and I sat down to prepare for Christmas 2013 on Boxing Day last year, analysing the respective sales of different product lines and considering feedback from customers and members of staff to identify where we could improve. We have been growing our stock gradually since March, investing a sizable proportion of our profits each month on items which sell particularly well during the Christmas period such as cafetieres.
“It is now one year since I first opened the doors on our store and I am incredibly proud at how we have grown and really excited about what the upcoming Christmas period and the following 12 months will hold. Meadowhall opened when I was a six year old living in Barnsley and my family used to think of the Centre as a fantastic day out. It is amazing to think that I now own a successful independent shop there and, whilst the Christmas period may be incredibly hard work, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
After a decade working within the coffee industry, and having progressed from cleaning tables at Cafe Revive to co-ordinating Krispy Kreme’s central London training function, Chris Leslie-Shaw bought Grounded Coffee in September 2012 with his business partner and long term friend Anthony March. With a passion for coffee, and a love of the retail industry, their aims were simple – to become the premier outlet for speciality coffee in the Sheffield City Region, and provide customers with the ability to make barista style coffee in the comfort of their own homes. One year on, having nearly doubled the store’s turnover, Chris talks about the importance of getting the preparation for the vital Christmas period spot on. “The Christmas period is absolutely crucial to our success as a business, accounting for a large proportion of our turnover throughout the year. We sold 1,000 cups of coffee per week between September and December 2012, and a further six metric tonnes of grounded coffee in 1
Office for National Statistics, Retail Sales Data, 2012 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rsi/retail-sales/index.html
“We have also been carefully monitoring our storage space throughout the year. As a relatively small retailer, an empty cupboard is the equivalent of an empty warehouse for a large retailer. But by working hard to use our storage space efficiently during the year, we have ensured that we can bring in additional stock at Christmas and take advantage of the increased footfall at Meadowhall during this period.
“Last year we recruited two temporary members of staff during the Christmas period, both of whom were previously volunteering at First Steps Trust, a charity which provides long term unemployed people from disadvantaged backgrounds with meaningful work experience. It was fantastic to see their confidence grow as they became used to dealing with customers in our fast paced work environment, particularly as I had worked at the charity for four years and saw first hand the often devastating impact of long term unemployment. Both members of staff secured permanent positions at Grounded 2
Centre for Retail Research: Christmas 2012. http://www.retailresearch.org/shoppingforxmas.php
Chris Leslie-Shaw and Anthony March, owners of Grounded Coffee
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The Red Iron
Since the launch of Retail Matters earlier this year I have been inspired by stories of organisations across the region embedding excellent customer service as part of the fabric of their businesses, and have been delighted to see the growth which this has helped them to achieve. Yet last month I was inspired in a very different way. Let me tell you the story of the Red Iron. I originally purchased a Red Iron from a well known retailer for a knock down price of £30, and proudly took it home to tackle the ever rising mountain of ironing by the lounge window which was gradually depriving my husband and I of natural light. Yet when I opened the box, I discovered an iron so bright in colour it was immediately apparent that continuous use would prove difficult. A few days later, having found a more suitable iron at a local shop, I ventured back to the store to exchange the iron and quickly settled on a couple of beautiful china mugs which I felt would make a lovely present. Yet when I got to the counter to complete the exchange, the sales assistant placed her finger in the water hole of my returned iron. ‘This Red Iron’, she said, ‘has been used’. ‘I’m sorry?’ I said, initially unable to comprehend the insinuation. ‘This Red Iron’, she repeated, ‘has been used. The water hole is damp’.
As I had not used the iron I felt rather stunned, but dipped my finger into the water hole to discover that it was indeed damp. I suggested that perhaps we should unpack another iron, by means of comparison, and after two minutes of dipping our fingers in and out of irons I began to wonder whether I was being recorded for a television programme. The Two Ronnies certainly came to mind, as did Open All Hours. After repeating that I had not used the iron, the assistant summoned her duty manager, who also started dipping his finger in and out of the water holes of the irons on the counter. By now I had lost all patience – this was one of the worst displays of customer service I had experience in 25 years of working in the retail industry. Eventually the duty manager agreed to sanction the exchange yet I left the store feeling disappointed and frustrated. I relayed the story several times during the day, finding the experience increasingly hilarious, and several people suggested that the dampness had perhaps arisen during manufacturing. Following confirmation from the manufacturer that they batch test irons with water, I returned to the store (letter in hand) and finally received an apology. Yet whilst the episode left me with an excellent anecdote, I also felt frustrated and less inclined to re-visit the store, where I had been a customer for over a decade. The experience brought home to me again the importance of always providing excellent customer service, and has strengthened my resolve to promote customer service through Retail Matters, to help businesses grow and to help the Sheffield City Region achieve status as the Retail Hub of the North.
We look forward to updating you on customer service initiatives in the next issue...
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Falling down the rabbit hole and ending up in Grandma’s house Inspired by memories of playing with Grandma’s Button Tin as a child, and driven by the notion of finding and caring again for something discarded and lost, Gemma Nemer set up The Button Tin in 2010. Based in The Imperial Buildings in Rotherham, The Button Tin is a throwback to an earlier age, full to the brim with jam jars and old rusty tins full of buttons, old tin rocking horses, vintage newspapers and sewing machines from as early as the 1870’s and pieces of Gemma’s art, lovingly created from vintage fabrics. Even the soundtrack is from another time as all tunes are played from Gemma’s pretty green Dansette record player. The Button Tin is Gemma's bubble, an installation art piece from another time where Gemma runs weekly workshops helping people to stitch and create their own pieces of textile art. Gemma also works inside her Button Tin studio on various textile commissions ranging from fabric covered pianos and gallery showcases to wedding bouquets and button holes. By collecting, caring for and re-using vintage materials, Gemma’s art creates a nostalgic feel from things she relates to in other people’s history, challenging the concept of kitsch by creating fusions of colour and texture from original 1940’s and 1950’s aprons, bloomers, pillow cases, dresses, vintage lace and, of course, grandmas buttons. Here she talks about the joy of owning the Button Tin, and her plans for the future. Gemma says: “It has now been over three years that I have been here in my little Button Tin. I have some amazing memories and stories and most importantly met so many amazing people here. Classes have been running into the hundreds and are still going strong, attracting people from all over the UK. I think of The Button Tin as a little alter to all things nostalgic and sentimental, re-igniting memories and stories of playing with Grandma’s quality street button tin as a child, tipping the buttons out and sorting them into colours. “All the materials which I use contain a wealth of social history, behind every swatch of reclaimed colourful patterned fabric and beautifully formed button is a lost story from another time and place, a hidden narrative that the truly discerning can discover and appreciate. I love the radiant honesty of those materials, and the way in which vintage textile art and scraps of memories can be sewn together with love and care to create individual works of personal art which bring such happiness to the people who visit to buy them. One such visitor was former Mayoress of Rotherham Lisa Wright, who, following a ‘wonderful afternoon’ at The Button Tin, said of Gemma, “You are such a special person and a real talent; you are a credit to Rotherham. I am sure you will go from strength to strength. You are a true inspiration. Thank you.” Praise indeed. So what are Gemma’s plans for the future? “I have decided to plan the next stages of this mini-button adventure. I have always had dreams of touring the country in magical Button Tin caravan, exhibiting in amazing galleries and sharing this magical joy with the rest of the country. The Button Tin is there to stay, but I want to make sure people from across the country can come inside the bubble, escape reality for a day and, as one of my customers said, ‘fall down a rabbit hole and end up in Grandma’s house’”. For more information on The Button Tin, visit gemmanemer.blogspot.co.uk Photography from Georgina Humphrey
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