The Rise of Retail Parks and Winter Maintenance Services.

Gritting | Health & Safety | Risk | Snow Clearing | 20 September

We recently came across an article by the BBC that announced that the UK had lost 83% of department stores in the five years since BHS collapsed.

On a personal level, that’s a scary statistic, as the figure highlights the extent of the changes the High Streets are experiencing as the Covid pandemic accelerated modifications in our shopping habits. However, the data compiled by commercial property information firm CoStar Group also highlights that of the 467 stores owned by the High Street giants such as BHS and Beales to Debenhams and House of Fraser, they now only have 79 left between them and 237 of their empty stores are sitting unoccupied.

So how does this affect us, a winter maintenance services provider?

We are receiving a noticeable rise of inquiries from retail parks, who want to make sure they keep ice and snow-free so that customers and employees have safe access, plus delivery trucks can keep moving whatever the weather.

This trend we are experiencing is supported by reports indicating that in a move from the High Street people are now increasingly shopping in out-of-town locations. Retail parks footfall has recovered faster than anticipated in the post lockdown world, and according to the major corporate landlord, British Land, these parks are almost as busy as they were before the crisis.

This news is no surprise given out of town retail parks are roomier, making social distancing easier. They’re also handy for click and collect and don’t have the same traffic and parking pressures as the high street. Plus, the types of shops found on these estates could be more resilient too. For example, there are often speciality stores, which should face less pressure from online competitors.

So, it’s understandable that retail parks want to capitalise on their upsurge in customers and avoid significant disruption by snow and ice. Their request for a winter maintenance service provider rather than manage in-house is due to the complexities of the site surfaces. From the requirements of their car parks to remain open 24/7, avoidance of an H&S crisis through a customer or employee slip and the necessity to keep docking bays functioning with oversized vehicles, it takes much experience to support these multi-level demands.

In addition, the closure cost would also be detrimental to reputation and finances, particularly as the worse of the wintery weather can occur in the run-up to Christmas, a critical trading period. Therefore, being supported by a specialist capable of supplying accurate weather forecasts, AI compliance reporting and reliable ice and snow removal are crucial to help support these businesses.

If you are a retail business owner or a retail park manager looking for a reputable winter maintenance service provider, contact our team today with your requirements and book a free site inspection. Click Here to Contact Us