Main shopping areas performing' impressively'
New data from Wandsworth Council reveals the borough’s town centres are bucking the economic downturn and out-performing similar parts of London.
Last year, the average shop vacancy rate for Balham, Tooting, Putney and Clapham Junction fell to just 4.5 per cent. The national average rose to around 13 per cent over the same period.
The figures have been collated by the council’s economic development office (EDO) in their annual report on the borough’s main shopping areas.
The number of empty shops in Wandsworth Town also went down last year, and is set for rapid improvement as the Southside Shopping Centre brings more refurbished premises back onto the market. Big names like TK Maxx, New Look and Republic have been snapping up the new outlets and TopShop has announced it will be arriving soon. More brands have registered an interest as Southside’s reputation continues to grow.
The report also reveals how the borough’s impressive retail performance is being underpinned by a steady stream of new investment. The most dramatic changes are taking place in Wandsworth Town where more than £1bn of private sector cash has been earmarked for the area. New public spaces, footpaths, homes, jobs and business space are part of the master plan.
Wandsworth Council’s regeneration spokesman Ravi Govindia says:
“This is a very encouraging set of results, especially during a recession. While some local firms have reported a slowdown, overall trade has remained strong and businesses are fairing well. In unfortunate cases where shops have closed the space has been quickly filled by incoming traders.
“Wandsworth’s central location, low council tax and young population make for a strong trading environment and give the area a real edge over other parts of London when it comes to attracting new investment.
“The council’s business friendly policies have also played an important role. We offer grants to help attract new traders to the borough and regularly invest in our shopping parades to make sure they remain attractive, welcoming places where people want to come and spend their time.”
Chairman of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, Chris Wyatt, says:
“The borough ‘s retailers and businesses are handling the local economy extremely well, and we are fortunate that we have residents who also support their local businesses. There are some exciting projects taking place around the borough and local businesses do see the good times ahead.”
For more information on the borough’s town centres go to <http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/towncentres>
For more information on Wandsworth Council’s business support services go to www.wandsworth.gov.uk/business
October 7th, 2010