Retail guru Bill Grimsey relaunches retail taskforce amid high street crisis

High street vacancy

Ex-Wickes and Iceland boss Bill Grimsey is about to lead another taskforce focusing on the health of the UK’s high streets after gloomy start to the year for the sector.

In response to Maplin and Toys R Us UK falling into administration last month, and with other high street retailers New Look and Claire’s currently on shaky grounds – Grimsey is set to restart the taskforce after an initial one 2013 that was closely followed in Westminster.

The latest taskforce is set to factor in current challenges such as Brexit and the 2017 business rates revaluation.

“Five years on the high street continues to face big challenges and now is a good time to take stock of what has changed,” Grimsey said.

“It is time to get this subject back on everyone’s agenda otherwise we will continue to sleepwalk into the remainder of the 21st century.”

The new review would present successful examples of retail regeneration projects and what more could be done to help local authorities cope with the structural changes in the retail sector.

The taskforce will also examine costs, financing and operating models and identify what can be done to futureproof town centres and high streets.

Grimsey will collaborate with six other experts such as top’s first ecommerce director Eva Pascoe retail property specialist Matthew Hopkinson.

The report will be unveiled on July 4.

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette‘s free daily email newsletter


  1. Its time higher powers get involved to demand the greedy landlords and whoever else reduce shop rents and reset everything, they are damaging the countrys highstreets which will soon come back to bite them as no one will be renting anything.Its time to act before its too late to salvage the bricks and mortar shops.

  2. Shop rents are perfectly fine, the absolute real problem is that stores cannot produce adequate levels of sales and then the growth of those sales on a year on year basis to pay the rent.
    This problem won’t go away now EVER. Just like there used to be only 4 TV channels and Coronation Street used to have 25 million viewers, today there are 200 TV channels and Corrie only has 8 million viewers
    If you shut down Ebay, Amazon, Gumtree, and every Internet retailer that exists the shops would go back to a level of sales that could afford the rent, but that isn’t going to happen.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here