Empty shops in King Street, Great Yarmouth

An Edge Hill academic is sharing her expertise of retail marketing as part of a taskforce led by ‘retail tsar’ Bill Grimsey which hopes to revitalise Britain’s troubled High Streets.

In the wake of the failure of Toys R Us and Maplin, veteran retailer Grimsey has announced a follow up to his 2013 independent review An Alternative Future for the High Street.

Kim Cassidy, Professor of Services Marketing at Edge Hill’s Business School, has joined six of the Grimsey Review’s original group of authors to complete this study.

Kim researches academic priorities which can positively inform retailing and has worked closely with the Economic and Social Research council on this agenda. Her personal research focuses on customer engagement in retail.

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to join Bill and the team to compile this second review. My contribution will focus largely on gathering evidence for the best practice case studies which will form part of the evidence base for the commentary. I have been working with Bill since 2014 on several retail initiatives and share his passion for improving our local communities. I hope that in time, we will be able to use this knowledge to inform regeneration initiatives taking place closer to home,” she said.

In 2011, Mary Portas’ review of the High Street was published with a response from the Government the following year. The Grimsey Review followed in 2013 offering an alternative view to Government which sought to broaden the subject beyond shops, identifying the need to embrace technology and reinvent the high street as a community hub with a combination of goods and services.

The aim of the second Grimsey Review is to revisit the first study to establish what impact it had, which recommendations worked and which didn’t and what has changed since it was written. It will also examine what should be done now to better prepare High Streets and town centres for the 21st Century.

The second review, published on Wednesday 4 July 2018, will be aimed at Central and Local Government, but also relevant to property developers, regeneration professionals, trade associations, investors, retailers and landlords.

Bill Grimsey, who during his 45 years retail experience held senior positions at Budgens and Tesco, and was also the CEOP of Wickes plc, said:

“It is time to get this subject back on everyone’s agenda otherwise we will continue to sleep walk into the remainder of the 21st Century leaving a legacy of ill thought out town centres and high streets to the next generation.

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