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Ian Welland from Hampshire Chamber comments on High Streets struggling in a tough climate
Lower inflation may be good news for the High Street but more measures are required to boost growth.
That is the verdict of Ian Welland, head of area development at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, after the latest Office of National Statistics Retail figures were released last week showing that June sales volumes were estimated to have increased by 1.6 per cent compared to June 2011. Over the same period all retailing sales values were estimated to have increased by 1.9 per cent.
Non-seasonally adjusted data showed that small stores fared better than large stores. Sales values at small stores were estimated to have increased by 4.1 per cent compared with June 2011 and large stores were estimated to have increased by 1.2 per cent.
Ian, now based at Manor House, in Lutyens Close, Chineham, said: “Whilst the UK perspective is looking favourable, growth is certainly slower than predicted in many of our town and city centres in Hampshire. “Our regional centres of Basingstoke, Ports-mouth, Southampton and Winchester have high footfalls, mainly concentrated in the dest-ination shopping centres, whereas other towns in our region such as Andover, Fareham, Hav-ant, Gosport, Waterlooville, Farnborough, Fleet and Aldershot are finding the going tough. Vacancy rates have not changed for the better and in most situations remain level or down. In terms of shopping, spend locally is at best level, and traditional retailing is really up against it with online competition. “Looking ahead to Christmas, it is expected to be a challenge for the High Street as internet shopping seeks to claim more than 50 per cent of the marketplace.”