Published: 4th July 2014
A MAJOR MMU project to reverse the decline of the British high street is hosting a national conference in the Business School next week.
Professor Cathy Parker has spearheaded the High Street UK 2020 project, working with 10 towns to breathe new life into their retail centres.
The £250,000 scheme is providing towns across the country a lifeline to save their high street, which have been facing unprecedented threats in recent years.
Prof Parker, chair of Retail and Marketing Enterprise at MMU, is inviting all colleagues and students to a half-day conference as traditional retails centres branch into new fields in a bid to bring customers back.
She said: “It would be really good to involve other people around the University if they think there could be a potential impact on their work. The high street is moving towards including arts, culture, health and wellbeing, events, and designing spaces for walking and cycling.
“We’ll be presenting findings for the factors that influence high street change and how to make change happen on the high street. There could be useful things for next year if people are teaching - it’s all going to be available as teaching materials."
The HSUK2020 project has discovered that around only a third of the factors that impact on performance can be managed locally.
So the MMU team has been hosting workshops with each of the 10 UK towns and their high street partners.
They have been traveling to the towns to host bespoke workshops, highlighting each of the factors they need to adopt to survive - such as parking, more events and restaurants, or better marketing.
The conference takes place next week and will also be broadcast through a live webinar, featuring retail specialists from several universities.
The free conference takes place on Thursday, July 10, from 9am to 1pm, room G36, in the Business School.