Popup campaign calls for small business quotas on the high street

PopUp Britain, the retail arm of national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, warns councils need to act now to create quotas to nurture the British high street entrepreneurs of the future.

Figures released today, uncovered that lower-end retailers like payday lenders, cash converters and pound shops are the only high street sector in growth, while major chain store retailers saw a ten-fold increase in closure, with the potential to hit 28 a day this year.

StartUp Britain co-founder and small business representative on the Government’s Future High Street Forum Emma Jones said: “Local authorities need to act now to stop our high streets being taken over by betting shops, cash converters and pound shops. The long-view of this unnerving development can only lead to further disengagement for British shoppers.

“We propose councils safeguard the future health of their own town centres by making provision for local businesses to get access to the high street via low-cost options like pop-up shops.

“This way they will be encouraging and nurturing the high street entrepreneurs of the future, and bringing hope to the local economy.”

Nick Russell, co-founder of We Are Pop Up said: “It’s very clear that the large retailers that previously populated the high street are leaving, and they are not going to come back.

“Even healthy chains are starting to proactively close stores. As those retailers leave, there are three scenarios. Those shops can lie empty, and contribute to increased blight and crime. Predatory businesses like payday lenders and betting shops can move in. Or we can empower the hundreds of thousands of SMEs that are ready to kick off a new wave of UK retail.

“These are real businesses, profitably trading online. Far from the last, worst option, at We Are Pop Up, we are seeing tremendous innovation and very exciting propositions. These businesses are our first, best option.”

PopUp Britain itself is opening a series of pop-up shops across the UK which are designed to give hundreds of local retailers access to empty shops in their area.

The pop-up shops are places where businesses can co-fund costs and co-work to develop retail skills, as well as get access to new customers.

Since it launched its first pilot store last summer, the campaign has helped more than 130 British businesses get access to the high street.

The campaign is currently in Victoria and Gloucestershire, and is soon to announce new openings in Birmingham, Nottingham and Wolverhampton.

PopUp Britain is supported by big business. It can provide credit card pay facilities free for all its retailers thanks to accounting software firm Intuit’s new handheld pay system, it has also been supported by John Lewis, Dell and intel.

Mark Little, UK managing director of Intuit, said: “Initiatives such as PopUp Britain are important in revitalising the high street, but it is vital that start-up retailers also have the tools they need to maximise their sales opportunities.

“One of the ways we are supporting the pop-up retailers is by enabling them to take card payments via their mobile phone with Intuit Pay. Providing simple, low cost solutions like this are just one of the many ways companies can help nurture the high street entrepreneurs of the future.”