Letter to the Editor

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The article by Jim Scott regarding the region’s CBDs raised some good points. In Timaru, the problem stemmed from the founding fathers, allowing the bullock trail to become to the main retail and commercial area.
Ideally, the retail and commercial centre should have been elsewhere. However, we are stuck with the location.
Research shows that options are available. For example, by making streets more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly, retail sales can increase by 50% and creating seating areas out of kerb lane or parking spaces can increase retail sales by 14% to those businesses fronting these areas. Even having a better bus service can increase retail sales.
However, retailers have to do their part. Successful shopping experience for customers with bricks-and-mortar retailing need to be magical and memorable. They must have stock that is well displayed, trained staff who not only engage the customers but also know the product they are selling.
The CBD can be saved, and as overseas trends are showing, if the environment is right, bricksand-mortar retailing is recovering.
What’s needed is everyone, council, retailers small and large, and customers to sit down, look at some of the options and work together.
— Roger Fagg, Timaru