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13 February 2017

Portsmouth City Council - Raising the Bench Mark….et

The local Portsmouth markets are imbedded into the distinctiveness and vibrancy of the city. Complementing the high street offering and contributing to the growth of the area, the local markets add a social, cultural and leisure diversity to the retail experience. Portsmouth city council places a significant focus within its economic growth strategy on supporting street markets, assisting new and independent ventures, encouraging start up business and local traders, focusing on raising standards and continually reviewing opportunities across the city.

The local Portsmouth markets are imbedded into the distinctiveness and vibrancy of the city. Complementing the high street offering and contributing to the growth of the area, the local markets add a social, cultural and leisure diversity to the retail experience. Portsmouth city council places a significant focus within its economic growth strategy on supporting street markets, assisting new and independent ventures, encouraging start up business and local traders, focusing on raising standards and continually reviewing opportunities across the city. The local Portsmouth markets played a large part in bucking the regional downward footfall trend for December's shopping, recording a year on year increase of 5.3% against the -4.9% for the South East. Representing 22% of the total footfall across the city per year, the markets act as a stimulus for the different areas, attracting people, exposing shoppers to a mix of retail options, encouraging them to explore the area and shop local. Southsea - a Thriving Market Area A prime example of a thriving market environment is Southsea, The markets have played an integral part in the regeneration of the area. Helping lift the area, attracting retailers, encouraging footfall and increasing dwell time. Only 10 years ago Southsea was in drastic need of regeneration, with a 25% reduction in footfall over a 6 year period, migration of business and evening entertainment, departure of leading brands and vacant units and a high dependence on food and drink outlets The area struggled to attract viable new retail offers, the established retailers were questioning their positioning. With a focus from the council's 'Vision for Growth' strategy in 2006 and the introduction of events and local markets, retailer's confidence rose and stemmed the decline of the area. Overtime the area has evolved into a desirable location for independent business and high street retail. The markets played an integral role in the uplift of the retail offering and the successful economic growth of the area. The Southsea Trader Association was fundamental in actioning change, working together to improve and tackle common issues. The association continues to provide businesses with a collective voice and interface with the council and a means to keep abreast of new developments across the City. The Southsea market offering has steadily grown from around 25 to 165 traders of the past ten years, with 4 separate markets, from local farmers produce, antiques & collectables, Love Southsea and Woodland crafts, not to mention playing host to street market events such as the Southsea food festival. The markets complement the unique identity that has been established within Southsea, visitor numbers rise, footfall to all aspects of the retail offering increase, spend is up thus attracting a better retail offering, and the upward spiral for the area continues. Market Start up In understanding the power of the street market the City Council continues to use them as a catalyst for change. Portsmouth is ranked nationally within the top ten cities for GVA and has above the national average business start-up rate. There is however a need to raise the business survival rate. The city council focuses on the local markets across the city as a start -up platform. With short term, pitches or regular opportunities running a market stall presents a viable route for retail and start-up business to trial products, establish a customer base and develop ranges at affordable rates. The markets have an established group of local traders that regularly use this platform to access a local audience and grow their business. Southsea Bathing Hut offers handmade, 100% natural skincare products from the seaside. This successful business is intrinsically linked with its Portsmouth location, the founder Samantha Worsey, resurrected the cities long-lost heritage as soap-maker to start-up and grow her business at the cities local markets. “From our inception in early 2015, we have received ongoing support from the City Council's Economic Growth team. We’ve attended free clinics on various subjects, including business planning, intellectual property and overseas trade. The advice and support the city council provided has been invaluable and has very much underpinned our success as a new local business” (Samantha Worsey, Founder, Southsea Bathing Hut)


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