Meet the IPM: Interview with Jean Ball

Jean Ball MIPM was City Centre Manager in Stoke-on-Trent back in 2007 when she was amongst the first coterie to qualify for Membership of the IPM. After an early career in retail Jean got involved in the arts and events industry delivering a diverse array of conferences, exhibitions, performances and spectacles in places ranging from a converted barn in rural Cheshire to Madison Square Gardens in New York. More recently, after over ten years in operational town and city centre management, Jean now works across the UK supporting places, people and organisations to achieve their potential. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Jean Ball”

The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 2

Infographic-website_900x900by Prof Cathy Parker

In last week’s blog post I mentioned the 39 research questions of our new Innovate project. Here is some more detailed information about them:

RQ1: Are the distinct town types (comparison, specialty, convenience/community) recognisable in a bigger data set?

Preliminary research strongly indicates the existence of distinct footfall signatures. But these were originally identified in our pilot data set of 50 towns, using footfall data that ended in 2014.  Now we have more towns and data spanning 2006-2016 can we find additional evidence of the town types we originally identified? If so we will conclude the typology is robust – in other words it is generalisable to a bigger sample. Continue reading “The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 2”

The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 1

Infographic-website_900x900This month our new Innovate project started. The project will bring big data to town and city centre decision makers, enabling them to optimise footfall whilst also improving the experience of centre users. The first stage of the project (running from now until Spring 2017) is very research focused.  Because we have over 9 years of hourly footfall data, courtesy of the project lead Springboard, the research team at the Institute of Place Management (Manchester Metropolitan University) and the University of Cardiff can really start to work out how and why town and city centres perform as they do.  Our findings will then be incorporated into a place management information system and a serious of dashboard products, built by our technology partners MyKnowledgeMap.

These new products will support decision making in towns and cities, by making important data more readily available and more easily accessible to the wide range of stakeholders who need to collaborate to build strong centres. Continue reading “The 39 steps – to understanding High Street performance – Part 1”

Footfall signatures research wins best paper prize

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Nikos Ntounis shows off our best paper prize at this year’s AM conference

by Prof Cathy Parker

Our new £1m Innovate high street and retail project may have just started, but the research underpinning our successful bid for the£1m ‘bringing big data to small users’ project has been awarded a ‘best in track’ prize for retail at this year’s Academy of Marketing Conference, held at Newcastle Business School.

The research identified new footfall signatures and town types the team had found in their preliminary analysis of footfall data, provided by Springboard, who are leading the new project.  The findings were presented in a competitive paper “Radical Marketing and the UK High Street: Towards a New Typology of Towns” authored by Cathy Parker, Nikos Ntounis, Simon Quin and Ed Dargan. Continue reading “Footfall signatures research wins best paper prize”

Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users

Infographic-website_900x900IPM is part of a new £1m consortium, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which will improve the customer experience on the UK High Street.

The project, led by retail intelligence specialists (Springboard), is a partnership between IPM and retail and IS researchers (Manchester Metropolitan University), big data and computing experts (Cardiff University), technology designers and usability experts (MyKnowledgeMap), retail property owners/managers (BCSC, New River Retail and National Association of British Market Authorities), retailers and pop-up (National Market Traders Federation and PinPointer), High Streets (Ayr, Ballymena, Bristol, Congleton, Holmfirth, Morley and Wrexham) and policy experts (Association of Town and City Management). Continue reading “Improving the customer experience in retail: Bringing big data to small users”

Working together for stronger towns

Oxford_High_Street_shoppersby Prof Cathy Parker

On the 4th July 2016 I was invited to take part in the inaugural Oxfordshire High Streets Conference.  I  am saying inaugural as the delegates found the day very useful so we hope there will be another one! As a place management scholar, there is nothing better than sharing place insight and debating its relevance, in a local context. As a researcher, I get to know a lot about problems and I get to know my data intimately.   But, my work tends to be read by academics and other people who also focus on the data/problem side of things.  This means I don’t always connect with the people who want to put our research findings into practice.  To get the opportunity to present our research on footfall signatures at the event was especially rewarding.  Having the chance to hear directly from representatives of towns that feel their centre’s profile is changing from one of comparison shopping to one that is more focused on community retail and services, for example, was really useful.  I got a chance to take part in the important debate about what this change means ‘on the ground’, in terms of managing the offer, attracting the right type of businesses, changing opening hours and communicating all these changes in the community. Continue reading “Working together for stronger towns”

Maintaining a vibrant Harrogate town centre

Betty's Tea Rooms Harrogate
Betty’s Tea Rooms Harrogate

by Prof Cathy Parker*

9th May 2016 I was invited to share the findings of our ESRC-funded High Street UK2020research at the 120th AGM of the Harrogate Chamber of Commerce.

Also presenting the future of transport for Harrogate was Cllr Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council and Cllr Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council, provided an update on the Harrogate town centre strategy & masterplan.

About 130 people gave up an hour and half of their evening to hear how retail centres across the UK are changing and how Harrogate is planning to adapt. Continue reading “Maintaining a vibrant Harrogate town centre”

Can we provide more accurate predictors of footfall than catchment alone?

Bauman street, Kazan. ken by Robert Broadie on 13 November, 2005.
Bauman street, Kazan. ken by Robert Broadie on 13 November, 2005.

by Prof Cathy Parker*

Continuing on the theme of identifying research questions for our Improving the Customer Experience in Town Cenres: Bringing Big Data to Small Users project, we are wondering whether we can start to predict footfall in a particular location.

With more retail sales moving on-line and out-of-town then traditional catchment areas or numbers may need updating. In fact, in HSUK2020, Millington, Ntounis, Parker and Quin (2015) found that local resident population was a better predictor of footfall in smaller locations than catchment statistics. We like footfall as a measure as it concentrates on actual attractiveness (the number of people a retail centre actually attracts) rather than ‘potential’ attractiveness (catchment).
We will develop an improvement on existing methods of identifying catchment by providing a new method of predicting footfall (consisting, initially, of those components identified in HSUK2020, i.e., geographical location, location of nearest stronger centre, resident population, employment, tourism and vacancy rates). Continue reading “Can we provide more accurate predictors of footfall than catchment alone?”

How does weather impact upon footfall?

rainby Prof Cathy Parker*

Bad weather can impact on footfall, especially in traditional open retail centres like the High Street. During traditional peaks like Easter, bad weather can reduce footfall by around 5% according to Springboard who collect footfall data in retail centres across the UK. But good weather doesn’t impact as positively on retail footfall as consumers often find other things to do when the sun shines – like visiting the seaside, parks and other attractions. Continue reading “How does weather impact upon footfall?”

Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres

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By Rept0n1x – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7475787

by Dr Steve Millington, Nikos Ntounis, Prof Cathy Parker and Simon Quin

Executive summary [You can download the full report from the IPM site]

Whilst omni-channel retailing and the digital high street may be two of the latest talking points in the retail property industry, our towns and city centres have always been shape by a series of technological, social and political revolutions. The purpose of this report is to examine how, after many years of mono-functionality focused upon retailing, our centres are experiencing something of a renaissance, and remerging as multi-functional ones, supporting leisure and recreation, employment, tourism, heritage, culture, housing, employment, education, health and wellbeing, as well as retail. Continue reading “Multifunctional Centres: a sustainable role for town and city centres”