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    Repositioning the High Street: evidence and reflection from the UK

    Millington, S and Ntounis, N (2017) Repositioning the High Street: evidence and reflection from the UK. Journal of Place Management and Development, 10 (4). pp. 364-377. ISSN 1753-8335


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    Purpose Drawing on evidence from ten towns (across England, Wales and Northern Ireland) participating in the High Street UK 2020 (HSUK2020) project, the aim of this paper is to reveal how local stakeholders involved in place management respond to High Street decline through a strategy of repositioning. Design/Methodology/Approach This paper identifies the challenges faced by towns considering repositioning, and highlights examples of good practice of relevance to practitioners. First, it outlines perspectives on repositioning from academic research and theory, before drawing on evidence from across ten UK towns who participated in the HSUK2020 project, to reveal how repositioning involves more than just taking a snapshot profile of a place. Findings The research revealed major challenges faced by local stakeholders in clearly identifying and communicating their market position, in particular, the maintenance of up-to-date information on catchments was lacking in all of the locations. Despite having local knowledge and some data, stakeholders still did not possess a clear (or shared) understanding of the identity or function of their towns. This evidence reflects the complexity of analysing and understanding repositioning and developing coherent strategies. Practical Implications Knowledge exchange between stakeholders involved in place management can help inform the identification of new strategic objectives, appropriate interventions, and project planning and delivery. Where resources are limited, particularly in smaller towns and settlements, the research demonstrates the significance of collecting and sharing data and analysis with other stakeholders, because this can generate positive outcomes for all. Originality/Value By offering empirical evidence based on the experience of local practitioners, this paper provides a valuable insight into how town centre stakeholders collect, interpret and analyse data, revealing the challenges, opportunities and practicalities involved in developing and implementing repositioning strategies.

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