Open All Hours – Stores to change trading hours to suit consumer lifestyle

City Centre Managers are urging high street retailers to change their trading hours to accommodate changes in consumer lifestyles.

The Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) recommends that town centres look towards evening shopping in order to remain competitive within the retail market.

A study of retail trading hours recently undertaken by the ATCM showed that sales between 5pm and 8pm are typically 50% more than those between 9am and 11am pointing towards the possibility of retailers opening later and closing later to capture extra spend.

The study reviewed shifts in spending patterns in cities which already consider later opening an essential element to attracting more shoppers back to the high street.  The results showed that spend increased by an average 10-12% in major shopping destinations across the UK where this was the case.

John Hirst, Operations Director at Destination Bristol, is impressed with the initial results and would like to see efforts extended across more of the retail and services sectors.

Hirst says:

“Customer feedback is quite clear – they want the opportunity to shop in the evening, and what we do is when the shops are busy, half 5 or 6 o’clock, there are some staff in many stores herding customers out the door when they want to shop.  Currently what we’re doing is saying to them, “I’m sorry we don’t want your money, please leave” and that can’t be right.  There is an evening market which needs to be captured.”

The ATCM’s Key Cities group including Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, Kingston, Leeds, Lincoln, Liverpool and Sheffield  have joined together to demonstrate to retailers that UK cities offer professional managed, safe clean and vibrant evening economies.

Calling the project “UK Cities Are Alive After 5” the ATCM have sent a DVD and brochure to 400 national retailers demonstrating the value of the evening economy and why retailers are missing out.

Jacquie Reilly, Partnership and BIDs Director, ATCM,   believes that most stakeholders are on board with the shift and that more participation from retailers nationwide is the final piece in the jigsaw. Reilly says:

“Consumers’ lifestyles have changed dramatically in recent years. They want to shop when it is convenient to them. Often this means when they finish work or combining a shopping trip with other leisure experiences. Out of town centres have already utilised their ready-made environment to take advantage of evening shopping to increase their market share.”

Reilly added:

“Forward thinking cities are building strong and credible partnerships with all the key stakeholders to ensure their city centres have the vibrancy, the ambiance and the infrastructure to support regular late night shopping. All we need know is more retailers on board.”


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