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Marlborough named one of UK’s Top 10 retail destinations

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Marlborough High StreetMarlborough High StreetVibrant Marlborough has been named one of UK’s Top 10 retail destinations.

The town was placed at number nine in the Harper Dennis Hobbs 2017 Vitality Index, ahead of Bath, Sloane Street, and London’s West End.

It was a new entry in the chart, which was topped by Cambridge, and the only Wiltshire town to make the top 50.

The chart was compiled by retail property advisors Harper Dennis Hobbs for Retail Week. They judged 1,000 shopping districts on how well the store mix suited local needs.

They also looked at vacancy rates, and at the number of proportion of up-market shops versus the number of ‘undesirable’ shops like pawnbrokers, betting shops, pay-day loan shops, e-cigarette shops, and bingo halls.

Harper Dennis Hobbs also published a list of the 50 worst retail destinations, with Newcastle-Upon-Tyne’s Shields Road in Byker propping up the bottom. There were no Wiltshire towns in this list.

The survey - the first to be published since 2014 - found an increase in ‘downmarket’ stores – including charity shops – of 2.7 percent over the past five years, and an increase of ‘undesirable’ shops of 1.6 percent over the same period.

Bob Holman, of Marlborough’s Retail Forum, welcomed the news:

“It’s bloody amazing – good for us!” he said. “It feels pretty bouyant on High Street at the moment. At The Food Gallery, footfall is slightly up on last year, and so are takings – despite the fact that we haven’t increased our prices.

“The story from other independent retailers is the same.”

Mr Holman said the number of independent retailers – the owner-managed businesses that make up the Retail Forum, and which counted in the town’s favour in this survey – added to Marlborough’s attractiveness as a retail destination.

“We have a distinct retail offering, and service always comes with a smile,” he said.

Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs said: “By popular demand from both retailers and investors, HDH have incorporated additional small towns and high streets, which gives a greater range to the ranking, and allows for comparison of local high streets with major retail destinations.

“Smaller centres are of increasing interest to retailers, given rents are often highest in the largest centres. So a small centre with a high vitality score – and the right shopper profile – could potentially yield strong profits.”

Britain's top 10 retail locations are:

  • Cambridge
  • Westfield, London
  • Knightsbridge
  • Chelsea
  • Bluewater
  • Wimbledon Village
  • Richmond
  • Canary Wharf
  • Marlborough
  • Bath

And the worst are:

  • Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Harrow Road, Paddington, London
  • Stretford, Greater Manchester
  • Tonypandy, Wales
  • Walton Road, Liverpool
  • Burnt Oak, north London
  • Gateshead
  • Kirkby, Merseyside
  • Selly Oak, Birmingham
  • Shettleston Road, Glasgow