Central versus local high street recovery.

As a trustee at The London Society, I hosted a panel discussion last week on London’s high streets. We know that the lockdown has affected current patterns of working, shopping and eating out. Local high streets are reporting some recovery, but central areas are still seeing footfall that is a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. Centre for London has been tracking the impact of COVID in their monthly London Intelligence Economic Tracker. During our panel discussion, Erica Belcher, Senior Researcher at Centre for London brought us up to date on how high streets in central London are faring when compared to those in the suburbs including East Ham, Bromley and Southall and the rest of the UK. We heard that London [...]

Retail webinar takeaways

During the lockdown, we’ve been attending a number of webinars which has definitely been positive, as it’s easier to fit them into the day or catch-up later as opposed to taking time out for an event but the two (live and online) are not quite same. The more recent ones have focused on how to start up the high street after Covid-19, and what the future of retail may look like after this global pandemic. Architects, Farrells ran a series of webinars discussing the impact of Covid-19 on the built environment, its design and the people living in it. One of these looked at reclaiming high streets post-COVID-19 and it’s interesting looking back to see that even though the discussion [...]

Learnings from High Street business engagement.

We wrote this post last month and in light of Covid-19 and most UK high streets being closed, we were ready to abandon it. However, as the lockdown continues, it became clearer that we’re unlikely to revert back to how things were/the old normal, which provided us with an opportunity to think about how we might adapt projects, or what we can do now to help us prepare for future engagement and in turn to ensure businesses are ready for reopening, whenever that may be. ------ Over the past 12 months, we’ve been managing several stakeholder engagement projects. Whilst talking to business owners, BID members, workers, market traders and high street users in very different places, we’ve uncovered interesting [...]

Looking back and predictions for the future from BDO’s annual retail trading seminar

This week I attended BDO’s annual retail trading seminar for the first time. Presented by retail partner, Sophie Michael and Richard Lim of Retail Economics, the seminar took an in-depth look at the sector, trends over the past 10 years, Christmas trading and predictions for the next decade. I’ve included a round-up of the key points below, adding in other research and comments on the sector from my own experience. The content presented, was broadly aligned with learnings from last weeks’ session at The Institute of Place Management (IPM) (as part of the MSc Place Leadership programme), that addressed how technology and changing consumer behaviour are the biggest factors impacting the sector. How we shop, interact with retailers (on and [...]

2020-02-28T12:04:22+00:00January 30th, 2020|High Streets & Town Centres, Retail|

The Assembly Line annual round up

2019 has been a busy year at the Assembly Line. We have worked on a number of interesting and diverse projects and we are now planning ahead for 2020. We have capacity for new projects from March onwards. If you would like to collaborate on a high street project involving business engagement, retail, local economies, street markets or place marketing, please feel free to email us on Here’s a recap of what we have been working on in 2019. Developing a market strategy via public consultation This year we worked with Westminster City Council to manage a public consultation on their six street markets. Over 18 months we were part of the wider team ensuring communications, licensing, legal and [...]

The changing face of high streets presentation with The Assembly Line at Hawkins Brown.

Hawkins Brown, an international practice of architects, interior designers, urban designers and researchers invited The Assembly Line in last month to talk about ‘The role of markets and the changing high street’. The objective of the talk was for their team to learn more about the changing high street and the role street markets can play, which may impact the practices’ placemaking projects in and around town centres. The presentation and Q&A, provided a whistle-stop tour of changes impacting the high street as the retail sector undergoes huge change, the history of markets looking at them in all their guises and how the combination of high streets and markets can work together to create stronger places, that stand out, build [...]

2020-02-28T12:07:37+00:00December 3rd, 2019|High Streets & Town Centres, Markets, Retail|