Hammerson has for the first time undertaken a major piece of research to quantify the long term economic and socio-economic impacts of its shopping centres.
Taking data from nine of the UK’s top shopping centres, Hammerson is the first retail property company to undertake such an extensive evaluation of its centres and examines four key areas:
· Economic value generated by shopping centres
· Benefits to local and central government
· Economic benefits to wider communities
· Impact on quality of life for individuals
According to the research, 31,000 people are currently employed in Hammerson centres with a combined annual wage bill of GBP421m; 37 per cent of jobs created by a new centre go to those previously unemployed and 12 per cent to NEETS; GBP91m in income tax and national insurance contributions are generated by employment through Hammerson centres; and GBP96m is generated through business rates.
As part of its research, Hammerson has also developed a forecasting tool, which interrogates 50 sets of data to understand the future impacts of its retail developments, from the construction stage through to opening. The new tool will play an integral part in assisting Hammerson to create the best possible schemes and employment opportunities.
David Atkins, Hammerson chief executive, says: “We know that the retail sector is undergoing major change and this research reaffirms the importance of retail in the UK economy. By examining Bullring, which has traded for more than 10 years we now have a fuller picture of a city centre retail environment. One of the big things to take away from the report is, it’s not a case of the high street or the shopping centre, both can successfully co-exist as long as they remain relevant to the consumer.
“The real significance of this project is the potential of the modelling tool. This will force us to challenge how we deliver our future retail developments and how we work with our retailers and local authorities to create the best schemes and employment opportunities.”
The report will be launched at a breakfast event, which will include debate on the findings from industry figures including Jeremy Collins from department store John Lewis, Stewart Murray from the GLA and Jane Rexworthy from the National Skills Academy for Retail.
Collins says: "This research shines a light on the economic benefits of shopping centres and the benefits they bring to the wider community. Retail is a vibrant industry which offers communities real opportunities for growth. At John Lewis we are recruiting over 2,000 new temporary partners in the run up to Christmas this year in our shops, distribution and call centres across the country."
Hammerson owns 12 shopping centres across the UK and nine in France, and has delivered major regeneration schemes including Bullring in Birmingham and WestQuay in Southampton. Over 250 million consumers visit Hammerson centres a year.