Birmingham high streets buck national trend

By on 10/11/2010 in News

Photo Call

 When: 10am Tuesday 16 November

 Where: Outside Asda, Kings Heath High Street B14 7BW

New businesses are helping two of our local shopping centres buck a national trend of declining high streets, with around half the number of empty shops in their high streets compared to national averages.

According to figures published by retail experts  'The Local Data Company' the average 'vacancy rate' across the UK now stands at 13%, yet Kings Heath and Acocks Green shopping centres can boast rates of just 6.5% and 4.9% respectively

The two centres are even out-performing other small shopping centres across the region, with empty properties standing at around 12% in the West Midlands.

Cono Pizza in Acocks Green and All Fired Arts in Kings Heath are two of the businesses opening their doors this month, both set up by local people attracted to vibrant atmosphere and competitive rents available in local shopping centres.

Cono Pizza, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, specialises in freshly baked cone shaped pizzas, which provide all the taste sensations of your favourite pizza in a handy cone, ideal for people on the move.  Cono Pizza, on Shirley Road, is the brainwave of two local brothers who first saw the concept on their travels across America. 

Over in Kings Heath, All Fired Arts has also brought a modern day twist to a traditional craft to the high street.  Based on Poplar Road the shop offers customers the opportunity to design and paint their pottery items under the expert eye of owner Annie Laughrin. In addition, they take commissions for special occasions, can accommodate private functions in their party room, and also seek to support and encourage local bright artistic talents, offering them a platform for the sale of locally produced artwork.

Town Centre Manager for Acocks Green, Melinda Brown explains “Shoppers in the Village, as it is known locally, enjoy the bustling and welcoming atmosphere here. As well as more businesses choosing Acocks Green, we are also growing our offer of bespoke independent outlets. Cono Pizza adds a fresh new dimension, which I know many of our shoppers will love.”

Andy Savage, Chair of the Kings Heath Centre Partnership Business Improvement District (BID), said 'Kings Heath is a vibrant urban village, which is perfectly suited to All Fired Arts. Retailers can see our strength as much as the community who shop and live here. As the BID continues to invest in the environment of the High Street and the new Village Square becomes reality, it will become even more of a great place to be'.

In a bid to better understand their centres' performance, both Kings Heath and Acocks Green now monitor the number of people coming to their shopping centre.  The results are impressive with the larger centre Kings Heath (328 outlets) bringing in around 7000 visitors a day, whilst Acocks Green (172 outlets) attracting around 3400 visitors a day.

Councillor Tim Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Regeneration commented “the city council has demonstrated its commitment to supporting our local centres for many years, with significant investment being made to enhance the shopping environment and most recently a city-wide 're-discover your local shops' campaign.  The results for Kings Heath and Acocks Green, are particularly pleasing given the current economic climate and illustrate that our commitment is paying off.”

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