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News Open for Business


A series of in-depth research reports aimed at providing business insight for the retail community, have been produced by Autumn Fair organiser i2i Events Group. The latest report – Open for Business, produced in


partnership with trade associations including Bira - offers specific advice on setting up shop in the UK, helping new retailers ensure they have a vital point of difference that attracts and retains loyal customers. One of the most sanguine pieces of advice is to


‘Get yourself a good solicitor and property agent” if you’re planning to open a bricks and mortar store, which involves a lot of different costs. All of a sudden you will go from having very simple costs at a concession to paying rent, rates, service charges, electricity bills, phone bills, design costs and bringing


“If these trends are captured and enhanced huge progress is possible”


in a shopfitter. There are a lot of things to consider in one go and you need the finances to cope. Underscoring


the importance of retail to the British economy, it is reported that total UK retail sales last year were worth £333 billion. Nine per cent of all VAT registered businesses are retailers, amounting to 192,585 companies with 281,930 shops and new ones launching constantly. World Retail Congress founder, Ian McGarrigle


points out that: “Despite the pessimistic forecasts about our town centres, new ideas do still spring up. Landlords keen to fill empty units are happy to encourage the phenomenon of pop up shops. Artisan and craft markets are booming as consumers crave


something new and different. Independent retailers bring much needed excitement and variety because they know that to survive they have to offer something different.” Retail Week stores editor, John Ryan,


asserts that the, "single most important element is location" when it comes to bricks and mortar stores. A familiar failing when looking at where to rent a unit is making assumptions about the local demographic, he says, while it stands to reason that shops with the highest pavement traffic outside them command the highest rents and rates. When it comes to merchandising, space


in store can mean one of two things - luxury or under- stocked. Queen of Shops Mary Portas spoke out for those


all-important independent retailers, saying: "There's an evolutionary resilience in smaller format retail that suits our appetite for localism and convenience. If these trends are captured and enhanced huge progress is possible. Some of the big retailers to go bust have been replaced by independents”.


September / October 2015 Giftware Review & Home Interiors 5


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