With the cost of living soaring, house prices on the wane and consumer confidence at an all-time low, retailers could be forgiven for throwing in the towel.
Gloomy economic forecasts and the threat of recession are enough to make us question our stability. But I take my hat off to the resilience of the retailers who are pulling together in the face of adversity.
Take Birmingham for example. Back in April, retailers from across the city rallied together to stage Style in the City, a fashion extravaganza designed to excite the potentially reticent fashion community, supported by media and celebrities.
Hosted by Birmingham’s Business Improvement District, the show took over the city centre and attracted almost 10,000 fashion fans.
The retailers executed the event with aptitude and efficiency and helped to reinforce Birmingham’s status on the fashion map. More importantly, Style in the City was a display of what the UK is so well known for across the globe – our relentless and gutsy fighting spirit.
With visitors travelling to Birmingham from Brighton, Manchester, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, the show was a huge success.
The increase in footfall to the city centre peaked at 178% on the Sunday, and retailers reported sales growths of up to 100% over the course of the three days. And it was all well deserved.
For me it was the retailers’ dedication, passion and strength of solidarity that clinched it. Long may this positivity continue, because it gets results.
Natalie Strachan is retail and marketing director at The Mailbox shopping centre in Birmingham.