We recently held the last in our series of True Value of Retail events to present research on the socio-economic contribution of our destinations. The venue this time was Birmingham looking at the significant positive impact Bullring & Grand Central have on Birmingham, following similar events in Westminster, Holyrood, Bristol and Leeds.
The report quantifies how the Bullring Estate creates jobs, triggers further investment and grows local spend. It was also another chance to celebrate Bullring’s 15th birthday and a successful 15 years in the past, present and future of the UK’s second largest city, as it continues to grow and thrive. We were joined by local stakeholders including retailers, local councillors and voluntary sector groups who have worked with us on community projects and benefitted from our bursaries.
Bullring undoubtedly kick started the regeneration and reputation change for the UK’s second city. The iconic Selfridges building, is one of the most photographed retail locations in the world and in 2016, we acquired Grand Central to form the Bullring Estate.
Today the centre has footfall of close to 40 million a year and is one of Europe’s most successful shopping and dining destinations. The centre continues to attract new regional flagship stores with the most recent additions including Barbour, Arket, Morphe, Calvin Klein and new Hugo Boss brand Hugo.
The True Value of Retail research reveals that the Bullring Estate supports 4,322 full-time jobs with wage payments totalling £88 million per annum. 85% of jobs go to local people and 50% of all jobs to under 25s. Furthermore, income tax payments total more than £12 million per annum and more than £362 million of indirect investment is attracted to the area every year which highlights the scale of the positive impact the Bullring Estate has on the city.
The research enables us to understand and measure the actual socio-economic contribution of our assets and developments both now and over their lifetime, as well as setting a baseline to measure future progress.
The results of the report come at a time when the retail landscape is evolving at a faster rate than ever before. However, what continues to be evident is the sheer scale of the impact retail destinations continue to have on their local economies and communities.
The economic benefit of our retail destinations to the national economy is vital. Our retail destinations across Europe are responsible for creating 40,000 jobs and generating over £300 million in employment taxes and national insurance contributions. The vast majority of jobs (over 80%) go to local people – with 10% of retail jobs going to those who were previously unemployed.
Business rates from our UK shopping centres and retail parks contribute an additional £250 million to local authorities and attract over £2.4 billion of estimated attributable inward investment. As our response to the autumn Budget makes clear, all the more reason for government to take note in the form of a wholesale rates review.
Our combined wage bill for retail employment equates to some £800 million – and we know a large proportion of this is redistributed into the local economy benefiting many more businesses in the region. These are big numbers – but we are also proud and committed to supporting individuals and contributing to changing their life path.
The positive contribution we make to the Birmingham retail sector is significant and our contribution to physically transforming places is easy to see, however we are also passionate about ensuring the retail sector is seen as a meaningful career option.
One of the reasons physical retail continues to prosper is its social nature and an experience that cannot be replicated online – and absolutely key to this is a skilled and talented workforce.
Our work in targeting priority wards and getting people into work for the first time, out of unemployment, or back into work after a career break provides government with around £7 million savings from reduced unemployment benefits.
Our shopping destinations also act as incubators of talent; retailers across Hammerson’s portfolio invest an estimated £40 million annually in training their staff. More than £4 million has been spent in Birmingham alone.
Birmingham is a thriving city and, as our True Value report clearly identifies, the Bullring Estate plays a central role in its success. More than that, this research highlights how retail and leisure destinations act as economic hubs for cities and add real value to the communities they operate in.
This is a central theme of Hammerson’s portfolio strategy, from the line-up of brands to driving value in the wider community. Establishing a new City Quarters concept to maximise the value from the land surrounding our shopping centres is just one recent example of this.
We are now using the findings to shape our venues to ensure we optimise the positive impacts generated from our portfolio and continue to create best-in-class retail destinations. The Bullring Estate shows this being done to best effect, and we are immensely proud of the contribution it has made to Birmingham over the last 15 years and will continue to make in the future.