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The retail sector is in critical shock. It is a high-scale, low-value sector which supports significant employment, particularly matching the skills and qualifications of the average resident, which makes it one of the more accessible sectors that could lift people out of unemployment and support recovery. 

FTE jobs
(12.9% of city employment)
GVA output of
(11.2% of Plymouth GVA)
Productivity 67%
of city average,
69% of GB average
Opportunities/Challenges to address
  • Reduced city centre footfall/spend and accelerating changing consumer patterns require retailers to innovate

  • Large city centre footprint with growing number of vacant units requires new and different uses of physical space

  • Successful and well established City Centre and Waterfront Business Improvement District Companies 

  • Survival risk of businesses who were already vulnerable pre-pandemic 

  • Key inward investment by significant private sector stakeholders 

  • Business rates and other high overheads providing a barrier to future occupancy

Identified courses of action

Create and launch a ‘Welcome Back’ campaign

Outcome: Encourage shoppers back into retail places and give Covid secure confidence

Develop ‘meanwhile uses’ and other uses for vacant units and property.

Outcome: Improve vibrancy of retail places to enhance shopper experience

Complete West End improvements and branding 

Outcome: Improve vibrancy of retail places to enhance shopper experience

Create and launch a ‘Buy Local’ campaign 

Outcome: Protect local retail and jobs. Boost business survival. This will be delivered online via the newly created Shop4Plymouth web platform and social media channels.

Create and launch ‘Market on the Piazza’ 

Outcome: Provide free space on the Piazza for City Centre traders 

Develop and submit Future High Streets Fund (FHS) bid

Outcome: Investment funding to revitalise and reimagine the Civic Centre area. Create a visible symbol of confidence and ambition. 

Promote and capitalise on all major developments e.g. The Box.

Outcome: Improve vibrancy of retail places to enhance shopper experience

Successes/Results to date


Welcome Back campaign launched June/July for retail and hospitality with extensive PR and marketing across all partner channels. 

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