Talk of the Town: The Future of the UK High Street | IPT
Chair: Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth
Speaker: Professor Christof Backhaus, Professor and Chair, Marketing and Strategy, Aston Business School
Speaker: Clayton Hirst, Group Head of Corporate Affairs, John Lewis
Dinner Discussion


Monday 29 April 2019


House of Commons

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End Time:


In 2018 almost 18% of retail spending was conducted online, a 13% increase since 2008, with internet retailing more popular in the United Kingdom than in any other EU country. Meanwhile in the year to August 2018, 28 retail companies with multiple sites ceased trading, affecting 2,085 stores. The sector is challenged not only by internet shopping but by changing consumer behaviour and spending. Small businesses are particularly disadvantaged in the digital marketplace because they can lack access to knowledge, skills, tools and have poor connectivity. With the retail sector fairly evenly distributed across the United Kingdom, and representing 5.5% of all business activity, how can the Government work with industry to secure the future of UK High Streets? 

This dinner discussion will: 

  • Explore how high streets can remain relevant in an internet age and examine how businesses can gather the digital tools and training required 
  • Consider the growth of click and collect retailing and how physical stores can complement online retailing 
  • Examine the potential benefits of the ‘experience economy’, including the offer of in-store experiences and mixing retail with leisure sites.