Horsham enjoys boost to retail economy

JPCT 050914 S14380974x Horsham's economic success is helped by events such as the Big Nibble and Piazza Italia.  -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 050914 S14380974x Horsham's economic success is helped by events such as the Big Nibble and Piazza Italia. -photo by Steve Cobb
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Horsham town has one of lowest retail vacancy rates in the country, a national survey has revealed.

As work begins on Horsham’s new ‘West End’ redevelopment, business leaders say this news adds to the positive economic confidence of the town.

A key measure of a town’s economic success is its rate of occupied retail units. Global retail intelligence provider Springboard has recently reported that Horsham’s retail vacancy rate – currently 4.4 per cent is one of the lowest in the South East region (average 8.2 per cent) and one of the lowest in the country as a whole (average 10.1 per cent).

Work has also begun as part of the £35 million redevelopment of the west end of Horsham which will see a new John Lewis at Home store and a new Waitrose supermarket.

The new John Lewis store is expected to create 125 new jobs and Waitrose will create 50 new jobs.

Horsham also boasts one of the highest numbers of independent retailers in the South East with in excess of 50 per cent of outlets being independently run.

At the same time, the town centre also attracts high street brands, both working together to attract visitor numbers and boost the local economy.

Commenting on this positive economic news for the town, Cabinet Member for the Local Economy Roger Paterson said:“I am delighted that in spite of the continuing challenging retail economic environment nationally, Horsham is continuing to outperform other town centres by attracting exciting new national and independent retailers.

“The town’s latest achievement of lowest retail vacancy void rates contributes significantly to a superior visitor experience, making Horsham an increasingly popular shopping and leisure destination.”

Gill Buchanan, chairman of Horsham Unlimited Business Partnerships added: “Horsham town centre has always performed well and with footfall just ahead of last year to date and a surge in new and exciting businesses opening in the town we really are able to offer our customers a great shopping experience in a lovely market town.

“Indicators for the future also look healthy with good interest in the many of the few units remaining vacant, although a small turnover of stores is always healthy and ensures that the town reacts to market forces and customer expectations.”