PRESS RELEASE: The High Street is Dead, Long Live the High Street! #futurehighstreet

Retail Champion and high street campaigner, Clare Rayner, announces the first Future High Street Summit in a bid to ditch the rhetoric about “death of the high street” and to kick-start positive ACTION to accelerate the transformation and regeneration of UK towns.

Launching the Future High Street Summit

fhs long with textToday marks the launch of the Future High Street Summit, an event that will bring together all those with a passion for the future of the Great British high street. Frustrated by the fundamental lack of REAL action from government to address the issues facing the UK’s high streets, in spite of various reviews, reports and forums, and with the appointment of a 3rd Minister for the High Street in less than 2 years, Rayner felt enough was enough. The time for talking had long since passed; what was needed was real action.

Sharing success stories and proven innovation to engage and inspire other areas to make a positive change

The Future High Street Summit, which takes place on 26th & 27th March 2014 at the National Space Centre near Leicester, will focus on sharing the innovation and success stories that have been proven to have had a positive impact where deployed. Platforming speakers from town teams, business improvement districts, industry bodies and technology innovators, the content will focus on how high streets UK-wide can benefit from lessons-learned by those who have successfully delivered initiatives that have had a positive social and economic impact on the community. Supporters, including ATCM (Association of Town and City Management), AMT (Action for Market Towns), bira (British Independent Retailers Association), CLES (Centre for Local and Economic Strategies) and Enterprise Rockers, will share the insight they have gained as leading industry bodies, subject matter experts, and business champions.

The high street is dead, long live the high street!

Rayner said “The time for reviews, reports and discussion has long since passed. Whilst some “experts” seem to find it easier to state that the high street is dead, this simply isn’t the case! There are some fantastic examples of innovation in action with town teams delivering a positive impact in their local community.  Now is the time to give those success stories a voice, an opportunity to shout about their achievements and share their lessons learned with a group of like-minded, passionate people whose focus and future depends on the transformation of our high streets. For the first time we will bring all stakeholders together at a single event to share ideas and gain a better, deeper understanding of the constraints and issues each face AND to talk about the opportunities that exist to really make a difference. We will welcome town centre managers, directors of business improvement districts, local economic regeneration teams, leaders of retail and consumer facing businesses, property developers and landlords. This event will highlight what is proven to be possible and will offer practical advice based on real-world delivery that will enable all those who attend to take relevant ideas, and the motivation to bring them to life, back to their own areas. If the high street is dead, long live the high street! We’re going through a period of considerable transformation and what’s emerging is the high street of the future.

Focusing on practical change that can quickly and cost effectively turn around the fortunes of ailing high streets

This 2-day summit aims to ensure that all those who attend will leave with a “shopping list” of ideas and solutions that will enable them to implement practical changes that can quickly and cost effectively turn around the fortunes of their future high street.

Rayner concluded:  “It’s time for our high streets, towns and village centres to fight back against the accusation that they have no future! The high street is going through a very exciting period of change, and change is inevitably painful for some. For others it’s a phenomenal opportunity to redesign the way our towns serve and support the local community. The objective for this summit is to aid those responsible for delivering change in the various local communities to be able to build a picture of what the emerging future high street might look like, and to gain confidence from those who have already reported positive results.”

Anyone interested in attending this event, as a delegate, speaker or sponsor, can find out more via or by following @FutureHighSt on Twitter, by visiting the Facebook page at

About the Future High Street Summit

The Future High Street Summit is the brain-child of Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion. At a time when the media are talking of ‘the death of the high street’ almost constantly, and in light of various reviews and discussion forums, it seemed there was simply too much talk and too little action…

Speaking to various people, from around the UK and from representative bodies it was clear that there were fantastic examples of towns, communities and high-streets implementing projects that had had a significant positive impact and often for only a very modest cost. There seemed little opportunity for those success stories to be platformed and shared with others. Clare felt that if only more town-teams, business improvement districts (BIDs), local councils and local businesses KNEW about the successes and achievements in some areas they’d feel inspired and empowered to take that knowledge, insight and example forward into their own communities.

From this frustration the Future High Street Summit was born… It was to be the platform that would enable the innovators and the success stories to share their capabilities and achievements with an audience of like-minded individuals who believed in a positive future for their local high streets, towns and village centres. Those individuals would then be able to bring those ideas back to their own communities, adapt them where relevant and take them forward for the benefit of their area.


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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