The EDP says...Let’s support our high streets in their time of need

Shoppers pass outside Debenhams in Norwich

Shoppers pass outside Debenhams in Norwich . PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY.


The difficult economic climate and changes caused by the internet have posed a huge challenges for all businesses over the past decade - and none more so than retailers on the British high street.

Now it seems that Debenhams may be the latest to struggle, with its new chief executive looking to potentially axe 10 of its 176 stores as part of a turnaround plan.

The store is not the first to have faced difficulties - we have seen many big name stores such as BHS and Woolworths disappear in recent years.

But there have been successes too, as stores have seen online sales grow in particular.

The key seems to be for shops and businesses to adapt and realise that the way people shop now is not what it was 15, 10 or even five years ago.

Those that embrace change will be the ones that flourish. Those that don’t will struggle - that is the harsh reality.

But while businesses need to be open to doing things differently, we - their potential customers - must also support them in their quest for success.

If we don’t then it is not just a case of a business closing and people losing their jobs, although both of those are devastating enough.

If those businesses close, then it has a huge impact on our high streets too, in terms of empty shops units and fewer jobs for our hard-working residents.

We all have an interest in our high streets’ success.

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Dr Belinda Clarke wants to be a “catalyst” to turn science and technology innovations into useful tools for the food and farming industries. She told CHRIS HILL how this drove her leadership of Agri-Tech East, winner of an EDP Business Award.

Simon Innes had more than 15 years of retail management experience when he joined CVS Group in 2004 and has since steered the company
to national success and an EDP Business Award. He told BETHANY WHYMARK about the company’s growing dominance in the animal care sector.

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