hero image

As we lose a retail icon, we must embrace the change


By Chris Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

We start the week with our high street losing one of its most iconic and loved brands to the digital world.

Fashion retailer Boohoo has bought Debenhams for £55 million - however it is not taking on any of the 118 bricks and mortar stores, putting up to 12,000 jobs at risk. For Boohoo, Debenhams is the latest addition of high street brands to its portfolio, it’s already snapped up the likes of Oasis and Karen Millen - the brands, not the stores. 

This comes as we’re hearing Asos, another online fast fashion retailer, is in the race to acquire Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge - but once again is not interested in its stores putting further thousands of jobs at risk.  

The loss of such important retail icons is very sad news for our towns and cities - they have been much loved names in our households for generations, they have served as important anchors for our local economies, and of course they have created many thousands of jobs. 

We must not let these losses sound a death knell for the high street, now is the time to embrace the change we are going through in this digital age.

In Guildford town centre, the landmark Debenhams building has been sold to developers for £20 million and the borough council says it will work closely with the new owners to enhance the high street and rejuvenate the riverside. 

We know that our high streets are evolving, the future is a balance of mixed-use business and residential space with community facilities and green spaces. This pandemic has massively accelerated this shift, and we as BIDs have an important role to play here.  

We can bring together our planners, local authorities and levy payers to make sure buildings like the Guildford Debenhams are transformed into the best spaces possible for the new world. 

And the government needs to act fast. We’re just over 4 weeks away from a very important Budget as we hopefully turn the corner on Covid. The Chancellor must provide the business community with stability by extending the business rates holiday and VAT cuts. Now is also the time to grasp the challenge of reforming business rates altogether and introducing a localised sales tax to level the playing field between bricks and mortar and digital.

We need action right away or we will sadly lose more of our loved brands from the high street.

Latest Articles

June's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BIDlife

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Our rapidly evolving workspaces

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs appointed to support Swindon renewal ballot

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

May's Insight from Chris Turner - 2021

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Indoor service please

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

ACT NOW FOR A STAND-OUT LIGHTING DISPLAY THIS WINTER

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Evidence to The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on Permitted Development Rights

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Amazon clicks and thirsty punters… now for business rates

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Welcome people back to your high street with Plantscape’s floral displays

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

High streets a part of life?

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BIDlife - Send us your reopening photos

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

April's Insight from Chris Turner - 2021

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil BID and Northfield BID achieve Accreditation

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Maybe* - 7 ways to reconnect with your BID levy payers and their customers

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

March’s ballot results – a congratulations from British BIDs

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Ballot Buddy helps achieve a new term for Sheffield BID

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs meets with UK's largest national chains

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

March's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Retail repositioning continues

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Colour and animation for magical lights this Christmas - GALA LIGHTS

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

The recovery Budget delivered, where now for our towns and cities?

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

£1bn Towns Fund for 45 areas in England announced

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

February ballot results – a congratulations from the British BIDs team

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

February's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Letter on proposed new Permitted Development Rights

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Watford BID overcoming the challenges to secure a ‘YES’ vote

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BID ballots during lockdown

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Business Interruption Policy Checker, Christmas Support Payments and Lockdown Guidance and elections

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

The headlines are gloomy, but our future evolved local high street looks exciting

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

January's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Digital trends in 2021

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs and Industrial BIDs discuss crime prevention

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Government names 72 high streets in England to share £831m recovery fund

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

A look back on 2020 BID ballots

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

December's insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

#BIDlife - putting the spotlight on our towns and cities!

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

How can and should BIDs be more community focused?

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Christmas lights provide feel-good factor in challenging times

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Welsh guidance about the coronavirus rules that will be in place from 6pm Friday 4 December

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Repurposing our places for the future

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Arcadia Group – Guidance for BIDs, 1 December 2020

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Calling on the Government to do more to support Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Increase your footfall over the festive period - Blachere Illumination

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

The shop local and loyal revolution from Scottish fintech Miconex with Town and City Gift Cards and Mi Rewards

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

November's insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

LoyalFree: The high street app helping businesses trade through the lockdown

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BID community prepares for second lockdown

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - 1st November 2020

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs congratulates confirmed areas to receive new Town Deals Fund

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Paul Clement steps down from British BIDs after long-standing service

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

October's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs congratulates Melanie Beck on being awarded MBE for ‘Services to the Community’ during Covid-19

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BIDs in the news

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs and Industrial BIDs share best practice

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

September's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs requests extension of 'Eat out To Help Out' Scheme

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

​Bb requests further BID term extension from MHCLG

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Bb to launch new research entitled 'Shaping the Future'

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Your Pontypridd Receives Accreditation

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

August's insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Levy reduction letter from BIDs - download the template

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Local lockdowns and areas of interventions: how to prepare

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs' response on levy payments

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs supports Business Resilience Survey

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Get involved in our response to Government

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Preparing for localised lockdown webinar follow up

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Look back on lockdown - BIDs (part 2)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

July's insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Webinar with high street expert Bill Grimsey

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Ruth Duston joins British BIDs Advisory Board

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Towns Fund – updated guidance

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Look back on lockdown - BIDs

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

June's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

From BBC news, to virtual meetings & training, we reflect on the past 3 months

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BBC News Channel - Professor Christopher Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Industrial and Business Park BIDs share good practice with virtual networking sessions

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

New research on BIDs and the 'new normal'

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Important announcement: MHCLG BID Loan Fund

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Ed Cooke joins British BIDs Advisory Board

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #9 (W/C 18TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #8 (W/C 11TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

3R Toolkit; Driving recovery in your place

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #7 (W/C 4TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

BIDs Advisory Board welcome Resilience Fund

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #6 (W/C 27TH APRIL)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs announces new research into the recovery of BIDs and urban centres in the ‘new normal’

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs Announces BIDs Resilience Fund

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Government lobbying for BID levy relief during COVID-19

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #5 (W/C 20TH APRIL)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

British BIDs expands Ballot Buddy portfolio

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Sidcup BID achieve British BIDs Accreditation

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

Government Survey - your help needed by 22nd April

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

That Was The Bb Week That Was #4 (W/C 13th april)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

April's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

COVID-19 - Job Retention Scheme Update

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021

That Was The Bb Week That Was #3 (W/C 6th April)

POSTED ON: 25/01/2021