Solihull Business Improvement District has responded to reports of a rise in vacant shops on Britain’s high streets with the positive news that Solihull town centre is seeing the opposite occur.
Compared to a national average of 11.3 per cent vacant units in town centres, Solihull has less than five per cent empty – and two of those are already under offer.
The British Retail Consortium says over one in 10 shops now lies empty in Britain’s town centres - the highest figures since the BRC began collecting data on occupancy levels.
The positive trends in Solihull, however come as evidence for a second year running that the town has defied a gloomy national economic picture with a strong trading performance.
In 2011, Office of National Statistics research found that the economy in Solihull was one of the star performers, more akin to the south east than its neighbours in the West Midlands.
Andy Cole, general manager of Touchwood shopping centre said: “This has been a strong year for Touchwood. Sales are up 3.5 per cent, average spend is up 4.5 per cent and we’ve seen a host of new arrivals.”
Shirley Sturzaker, director of Solihull BID, which markets and promotes the town centre said: “Solihull is blessed with an amazing range of high street and designer brands, and an accessible location.
“Another key reason Solihull is faring much better is the way we work in partnership across the town centre. Our two shopping centres, Solihull Council, our retailers, the Police and the BID work closely together to ensure there is a consistent and compelling message about the town, a warm welcome and a vibrant atmosphere.”