Research and analysis

High street and retail sector: recent trends and policy implications

This research examines recent high street trends and how local strategies and policies affect high street performance.



BIS research paper 188 is a 2 part report commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It assesses the policy implications of recent town centre and retail trends. This is based on a sample of 50 town centres in England.

Part 1 of this study uses data-analysis to identify town-centre types. It analyses historical trends in things such as:

  • high street vacancy
  • centre size
  • the prevalence of and number of charity shop chains

This is in order to understand how different types of centre have fared over the past decade.

In part 2 of the report this typology of town centres is then applied to 10 case study town centres in 2 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). This part of the research looks in detail at how local policies and strategies are trying to deal with changes in the high street.