Home Limerick People Retail in Limerick – an evolving, positive future.

Retail in Limerick – an evolving, positive future.

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In 2011
retail expert Mary Portas was commissioned by the British government to publish
a review of the high street. Her review looked at future trends in retail and
how town centres are managed. There is no doubt that retail and the future of
town centres are at a fascinating crossroads.
The evolution
of on-line shopping, large-scale out-of-town retail development and
ever-changing consumer behaviour forces us to seriously rethink what the
function of a town or city centre is. Some might see the future as a challenge
but may see an exciting opportunity that requires all stakeholders to work
together making decisions based not on traditional retail principles but rather
a focused, innovative and consumer friendly approach.
Last week I
sat outside Gasta, a new Limerick healthy food concept which has been developed
by Limerick-man Jeff Treacy. A former retail
manager, Jeff now describes himself as a ‘healthy fast food entrepreneur’. His
goal for this Gasta is to give the people a mainstream healthy alternative to
fast food on the high street. Jeff researched leading operators such as Eat and
Pret a Manger in the UK whilst developing this new brand.
Gasta is a Limerick business. It is a new
concept. It is the result of months of detailed retail research a young
businessman hoping to develop a new food retail offer. Jeff has chosen Limerick
for his first restaurant and by all accounts the business is doing well. It
nicely compliments the existing retail and food offerings already established
on Thomas St.
As I sat outside Gasta I watched as the newly
opened ECCO Shoes welcomed their first customers. ECCO decided to base
themselves in Limerick as a result of the Retail Excellence Pilot City project
which is being rolled out by the Limerick City Business Association in
collaboration with Limerick City and County Council. ECCO are an established
retail brand with a solid track record. You just have to wander through their
store to see the emphasis they place on retail design, quality fit-out,
customer service and strong retail principles.
The opening of Gasta and ECCO, two very
different retail concepts, is to be welcomed wholeheartedly in Limerick city.
Over recent months we have seen other businesses invest in the city – Aroi,
Taikichi, Kaya, Hook and Ladder, Trailfinders, Therapie and The Buttery being
examples.
Last week
Limerick city lost Helene Modes, an established family-run business which has
been welcoming Limerick customers through its doors for more than 50 years. The
closure of Helene Modes was very sad and once again reminds us that retailers
continue to experience difficult trading conditions. We would be fools not to
note that our city centre cannot function successfully without increased
footfall. Increased footfall will only come from shoppers making a conscious
decision to support local city centre business.

The future of
retail and town centres will continue to be debated in the months and years
ahead. Limerick is in a positive place. The city will not die. It is evolving.
We need to continue to work as a strong team of retailers, businesspeople,
entrepreneurs and local authority to ensure that the future of our city is
welcoming, prosperous and vibrant. 

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