High Street shops backed

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A leading Sheffield property expert has welcomed the results of a Government-backed review of Britain’s high streets, carried out by leading retail marketing consultant.

Robert Lane, chairman of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce’s retail forum, said: “The retail sector is the largest private employer in the region, therefore we support any initiatives which support its growth.

“We welcome the creation of Town Teams, which can provide a joint public and private sector approach to managing and improving our local high streets.

“Also the promotion of ‘Markets’ as a key ingredient to widening and improving the retail offer, providing free controlled parking schemes to help town centre’s compete against out of town developments, measures to minimise the number of vacant shop units and to make our shopping streets more user friendly, all seem to be a step in the right direction. However, there is one obvious gap in the proposals and that is to promote good customer service.

“Developing strong retail skills are vital to the long-term success of the sector, which is why Sheffield is leading the way with the first National Retail Sector Skills Academy, supporting workforce development at all levels from unqualified entrants to senior management.”