The purpose of this short article is to outline a research agenda to further our understanding of how retail areas are influenced by, and adapt to, change. This is part of an Economic and Social Research Council-funded project High Street UK 2020.
We outline a research agenda – containing factors which High Street stakeholders in Alsager, Altrincham, Ballymena, Barnsley, Bristol, Congleton, Holmfirth, Market Rasen, Morley and Wrexham have identified as influencing the vitality and viability of their retail areas. Currently, there is little or no academic evidence available to support these factors; therefore, they are worthy of further research.
The towns assert that the following factors influence High Street performance (either positively or negatively) and need further research: business support; engagement and engaged businesses; fragmentation; information; Internet connectivity; local knowledge; measuring economic impact/value; media coverage; networking; public sector dependency and risk aversion.
Only 10 towns have taken part in the research. Nevertheless, they are representative of the research-user community for retail centre research.
This research agenda will enable researchers to respond to a clear gap in our knowledge about High Street performance, as identified by towns themselves.
By undertaking the research that people that manage retail areas need, it will enable practitioners to make better informed decisions and manage these important areas more effectively to the benefit of their local communities.
By allowing town centre managers, traders, council members/officials and “concerned citizens” to set the agenda for research production in the area of retail centre change, we anticipate forthcoming research in this area will be more highly valued by practitioners and have more impact in “the real world”.
Parker, C., Ntounis, N., Quin, S. and Grime, I. (2014), "High Street research agenda: identifying High Street research priorities", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 176-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-06-2014-0008
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