1813 Club and Premier Members

1813 Club and Premier Members

Greater Birmingham’s leading companies

British high street is in decline

West Midlands high streets ended 2017 with 144 fewer retail outlets than at the beginning of the year. The decline is around two-and-a-

half times worse than 2016, according to PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC). The analysis tracked 5,124 outlets

in the West Midlands operated by multiple retailers in 32 town centres across the region. From January 2017 to January

2018, 338 shops opened on high streets, retail parks and shopping centres – but there were 482 closures. But the second half of 2017 saw more closures and fewer openings. Experts say this reflects a tough

trading environment including a slowdown in consumer spending, rising staff and business rates costs, as well as a slowdown in food and beverage growth as consumer confidence reached a four year low in December 2017.

‘2017 has proved to be one of the toughest trading periods West Midlands retailers have experienced in years’

Nationally, there was a net loss

of 1,772 stores across Great Britain in 2017. Andy Lyon, leader of PwC's retail

and consumer practice in the Midlands, said: “2017 has proved to be one of the toughest trading periods West Midlands retailers have experienced in years. “We’ve already seen a tough

start to 2018, but it’s important to remember the British high street still plays a vital role in society – and that there are elements of growth among the headline numbers of decline. “ The winners at the moment,

such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments, such as experience- seeking millennials and offer a differentiated physical proposition that online can’t compete with.”


And they’re off: The Parade Ring at Cheltenham

Premier Membership

Contact: Howard Blow T: 0121 607 1841

Festival contract awarded

Cheltenham Racecourse, part of The Jockey Club, has awarded a three-year contract to Birmingham-based corporate hospitality specialist Eventmasters Limited. The St Paul’s Square company

will manage major parts of Cheltenham’s four-day ‘Festival’, which takes place each March and is the fourth biggest sporting event in the UK. Lee Moulson, regional head of

sales for the South West region of The Jockey Club, said: “We have been working to ensure consistency across our marketing offer for The Festival, we went out to tender on two major hospitality areas.

‘We want there to be a clear journey for people wishing to attend’

“We want there to be a clear

journey for people wishing to attend, we wanted companies who had experience in the industry and we needed them to demonstrate how they could improve customer experience. “A tremendous amount of work

and passion goes into the staging of The Festival – and we need our key suppliers to match that commitment to deliver the best experience possible. Eventmasters

have certainly demonstrated this to be the case.” Eventmasters CEO Denise

Sheasby has extensive experience across the racing industry, including working with The Jockey Club at the Randox Health Grand National Festival and at Warwick Racecourse. The company’s involvement with horse racing also includes a racing arm, Eventmasters Racing, which has a number of horses currently in training. Ms Sheasby said: “To be working

with The Festival for the next three years will give us the opportunity to build on what is already a fantastic offer for corporate guests.”

Record growth results in investment

Unity Trust Bank has attracted £11m of new investment after reporting record growth over the past year. The commercial bank for firms

with a social benefit announced its 2017 annual results, with profits and new lending up by more than 20 per cent. The bank lent nearly £100m to

firms and projects that will deliver community, economic or environmental benefits. Margaret Willis (pictured), CEO

of Unity Trust Bank, said: “Since becoming independent in

December 2015, Unity has pursued its goal to lend responsibly to firms and organisations that share our mission to benefit society. “At Unity, this progress

means more than just profit; the better we perform, the greater societal benefit we can have. “It’s very pleasing to see

the appeal of ‘banking with values’. We are grateful for the support of our shareholders and the faith placed in us by our customers.” The Birmingham-based bank has

also attracted over £11m of new investment from existing shareholders and a new investor, the Sustainability, Finance, Real Economies fund. SFRE is an investment

fund initiated by the Global Alliance for

Banking on Values. This investment

facilitates Unity’s future

growth plans and has enabled the bank to buy-back the Co-operative Bank‘s remaining shares, meaning it is no longer a shareholder in Unity.

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