Battle for the high street

Published:  29 June, 2010

LONDON: The trend for big name retailers to return to smaller-store formats in the high street is well underway according to a retail report from Colliers International.

Firms such as Sainsbury's continue to push on smaller town and city centre stores. Although the likes of Tesco Express have been around for several years, the popularity of these smaller community supermarkets with shoppers has prompted a string of other non-food retailers to follow.

Last week B&Q became the latest firm to unveil planned town centre stores after years of concentrating on out-of-town retail parks. The chain's parent company Kingfisher intends to open 60 smaller sites in high street locations following successful trials in France and Russia.

B&Q's announcement follows a similar revelation by Halfords, which is going back to its roots by opening 80 high street shops to take advantage of the high street's footfall.

Tom Johnston, head of retail at Colliers International, said the moves by B&Q and Halfords are not anomalies but part of a growing trend which could herald the renaissance of the British high street helped by lower rents Sparks said.

"With the recession and the changes that have gone on, there is more property available but also more willing landlords to reconfigure that property in a way that suits retailers," he said.

Sparks is confident that trials from the likes of B&Q and Halfords are likely to prove successful.

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