A series of community-centric initiatives are revitalising shopping districts. Brick and mortar stores have faced a “retail apocalypse” in recent years, as the rise in remote and hybrid working compounded the challenge from online shopping. In the UK alone, more than 17,000 stores shuttered in 2022 according to the Centre for Retail Research, representing a 50% rise over 2021. Now, innovative approaches are helping to reverse declines in footfall.
One tactic sees developers bet big on independent traders to create a community feel. In Poole, UK, an imaginative project is transforming Kingland Crescent, a once rundown shopping street that is now home to ten thriving independent local retailers, including a record store, coffee roaster, fishmonger and a jewelry store.
The turnaround is the brainchild of LGIM Real Assets (a division of financial services company Legal & General) which offered the units to budding local traders rent and rates-free for a fixed two-year period back in 2021. The community-centric offer means the street is now thriving despite the cost-of-living crisis. According to a feature in The Guardian, Kingland has boosted footfall and generated an additional £2.2m (USD 2.8m) in revenue for the neighboring Dolphin Centre shopping mall which hosts a number of branded retailers. L&G, which is offering mentoring and legal advice to tenants, hopes the approach can form a blueprint to be adapted for other struggling towns and cities.