Market Failure?: Can the traditional market survive? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Memorandum by Derby City Council (MARKETS 07)


  Derby City Council manages the Council's five markets, issue Street Trading consents, manage a Sunday Car Boot Sale and protects the Council's Market franchise held under a Royal Charter from King Charles II.

  Around 700-800 years ago, the right to hold a market was a highly valued privilege granted by the monarch to nobles who enjoyed his favour. Where such markets were held, people travelled from miles around to buy and sell the essentials of everyday life.

  Towns grew up around the site of regular markets, which were usually held on one or two days each week, or on special feasts and festivals. Many of today's thriving communities owe their existence to the market in their midst.

  There are three retail markets:

    — Eagle Market (formerly Eagle Centre Market)

    This is in an undercover modern building containing 247 retail stalls, offering a full range of goods and with full access for disabled people. The Eagle Market retail square footage is 35019.

    Opening time: Monday-Saturday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm

    — Market Hall (Cathedral Quarter)

    This operates in the fully restored Victorian retail Market Hall and offers separate Fish and Poultry sections. The Market Hall retail square footage is 18299 and the Fish Market square footage is 1064. The number of stalls (including the Fish and Poultry Market are 141.)

    Opening times: Monday-Saturday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm

    — Allenton Market

    This is a traditional retail open-air market of 90 permanent stalls with covered walkways.

    Opening times:

    General market: Friday and Saturday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm

    Flea market: Tuesday 4.00 pm to 6.30 pm

  Additionally there are two non retail markets and speciality markets.

    — Wholesale

    This is a distribution centre for fresh fruit, flowers and vegetables from all over the world. Trade sales only, not open to the public.

    — Cattle Market

    This is a traditional livestock market held on every Thursday of each week.

    Horse sales are held every 2nd and 4th Saturdays each month.

    Furniture sales are held every 1st and 3rd Saturday each month.


    — Farmers Markets

    Farmers' Markets are held every third Thursday in each month throughout the year on the Market Place in Derby.

    — Continental Markets

    The Continental Markets' dates are yet to be agreed for 2009. There are normally two or three a year—three days each one.

    — Car Boot Sales

    The Car Boot Sale at the Cattle Market is held every Sunday, apart from the last one in December and the first one in January. The numbers vary from 50 to 500 a week depending on the weather, as the Sale is outdoors but hard standing.


How has the picture changed over the last 10 years?

  The type of goods sold and services offered have changed considerably. There are fewer traditional market products for example butchers, fruit and vegetable sales and florists, but there are also more specialist products sold and services offered in Markets. For example beauty/tanning/nail bars, tattooists, alternative therapy, travel companies, Legal advice/Age concern and phone unlocking.

Are the number and types of markets in decline? If so, why?

  In the Retail Markets (Eagle Market, Market Hall) the voids are higher—almost double in the over the last five years. (This is all that we have figures for.) However, they are still running at a profit though and bring in large amounts of revenue for the Council.

  In 2003-04 the voids averaged 7.37% in the Market Hall and in the 6.77% in the Eagle Market, but in 2008/9 the voids averaged 17.51 % in the Market Hall and 16.99% in the Eagle Market. (It may be worth noting that in 2007-08 the voids averaged only 6.77% in the Market Hall and in 14.87% in the Eagle Market though.)

  At Allenton Outdoor Friday Retail Market ten years ago the Market Supervisor believes that there was about ninety percent occupancy. There has not been much change in the revenue in the last five years. (This is all that we have figures for.) In 2002-03 the income was £27,683, in 2007-08 the income was £24,328. This continues to run at 50-60% occupancy.

  At Allenton Outdoor Saturday Retail Market 10 years ago the Market Supervisor believes that there was about ninety percent occupancy. There has not been much change in the revenue in the last five years. (This is all that we have figures for.) In 2002-03 the income was £38,348, in 2007-08 the income was £32,705. This continues to run at 50-60% occupancy, but it was 70% five years ago.

  People tend to prefer to have a dry, and warm, shopping experience nowadays.

  At Allenton Outdoor Flea Market there has not been much change in the revenue in the last five years in the evening Flea Market. (This is all that we have figures for.) In 2002-03 the income was £11,344, in 2007-08 the income was £13,586.50. This continues to run at 50-60% occupancy. This may be due to the nature of the 'cheaper second hand Market products'.

  The Car Boot Sale has not really changed in the last 10 years. In 1997-98 there were 13,450 vehicles, in 2007-08 there were 11,553 but the weather was bad. This year the figures for 2008-09 are up on the previous year. The average number of cars for the ten years was 12,947.5 cars a year. This was despite a £2 per car increase in 2006-07.

  It's been suggested that the decline in the Retail Markets is due to lack of customers due to online shopping/auctions, out of town 'one stop' supermarkets (with free parking) and the development of 'one stop' shopping centres. In Derby, as well as the major Supermarkets offering traditional market goods, including low cost clothes, there are two retail outlets offering low cost clothes and goods in close proximity to the markets. In addition, the new Westfield development has market type stalls in the malls, creating further competition for the markets.

  We are aware of at least three traders moving completely to their successful 'online sales' business—hoover bags, toy cars, and toy bears.

  Interestingly Derby's Eagle Market, which is adjacent to the new Westfield Shopping Centre, has much lower rents than the Shopping Centre. A fact that we are now promoting.

  There is a decline in the general retail trade due to the current climate, this can be seen in the Westfield shopping centre by the presence of vacant units since the Centre opened at almost total occupancy in October 2007.

Are there obstacles preventing the creation of more markets?

  The usual Laws (including Planning), legislation and regulations—and capacity for building within the City Centre. There is a trend towards modernising town centres and enclosing/enveloping Markets—for example the proposed City Scape plans for Derby, adjoining the Market Hall.

Are there obstacles hindering the successful business of existing market operators and traders?

  Economic climate.

What has been the impact of specialist markets eg Continental and Farmers markets, and do such markets integrate successfully with older markets?

  We have received mixed reviews. We believe that overall they do attract trade to the adjacent Market—and bring in additional revenue for the Council as well.

  The Farmers Markets (held every third Thursday) and the Continental Markets (that are held about three times a year) stand alongside the Market Hall.

  We understand from conversations with the Market Hall traders that these Specialist Markets do adversely affect the trade in the 'older Market Hall'. Namely those traders who sell the same/similar goods in the Hall.

  However we have observed that the prices are much higher for many products sold on the outdoor specialist markets so people prefer to still go into the Hall, and these types of Markets do visibly draw many more visitors to the area than normal. The 'end' of the Specialist market's 'walk way' always leads conveniently into the Market Hall so the footfall will increase anyway.

  The Eagle Market traders, who are further away from the Specialist markets area, that have spoken to us, do not really note any change in trade.


What social and economic effects do traditional retail markets have on their local communities?

Social effects

  Meeting place—Coffee bars/cafes, reading rooms.

  Receive 'feel good' experience—nail bars, beauticians, hair dressers, healing stalls.

  Friendly atmosphere to shop in.

  Ease of access to all.

  Personal service/sales

Economic effects

  Place to purchase affordable goods.

  The Markets employ traders and staff from the local area. (In Derby Retail Markets about 800 people.)

  There are ancillary employees—for example suppliers, hospitality, security, delivery vehicles.

  There is ancillary work generated for local car and vehicle dealers and repairers by traders and suppliers.

  Markets are in the fore—front of recycling and re using waste material products.

  With Derby's Retail Markets receiving goods from the Derby Wholesale Market this reduces 'carbon emissions' and 'food miles', as they do not need to go to other wholesalers around the country.

What qualities contribute to a successful market delivering social and economic benefits, and are there examples of best practice that have a wider application?

  Having a mixture of products and services/balance of goods—not too many of the same products.

  Products that customers want to buy—of the right quality and at the right price.

  Having a traders charter—expected behaviour (no nuisance to others for example, in the tenancy/lease agreement.

  Having the right environment—welcoming.

  Conveniently located—either locally or close to bus routes.


Does local government support markets effectively?

  See below.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of local authorities having powers to operate markets?


  Control of trade

  Associated Council infrastructure available from Legal Services for expert advice (especially rival Markets), Administration, Environmental Health, Maintenance for expert advice

  Cheaper rents than Commercial outlets

  Provides a 'service' to local people (Allenton—an area of Regeneration).

  Use of Council buildings

  Fairness—Council regulations/policies ensure this

  Training—Health and Safety (Fire etc)/Water Hygiene always up to date

  Commercial income generation.


  Lack of investment

  Limited advertising budget to promote markets—looking into advertising in Derby this year.

  Money made in Market not being reinvested in Markets

  Due to Council regulations/policies

  Perceived lack of flexibility due to Council regulations/policies

Does central government support markets effectively? If not, what additional support should be provided?

  Continuing government pressure for efficiencies in local government is shared across Markets, reducing the budget available for investment.

  We have Government Directives which are quite difficult to adhere to without additional funding.

Could central government make better use of markets to achieve national goals, particularly with regard to social cohesion, health and regeneration?


  Social Cohesions— Provide funding for Local Authority Markets to offer lower rents on stalls for people/organisations that provide a social cohesion facility for example clubs, clinics, nurseries. They can be charitable.

  Health—Provide free fruit and vegetables vouchers to children for use in the Market. Local Authority Markets could offer lower rents on stalls for social/awareness groups to use especially those to do with Health, for example health—check clinics, crime prevention units.

  Regeneration—Provide funding for the renovation of all Council—owned buildings.

  In Derby we do offer free use of the central area in the Eagle Market for NHS campaigns, Local Constabulary campaigns and charitable organisations to raise awareness and funding.

Planning and licensing issues

Do local and national planning regulations support or hinder the development of markets?

  They hinder them because they allow out of town shopping areas and restrict building in the City Centre. They make it difficult to develop, modernise or maintain existing buildings (for example listed ones) without extreme costs involved.

Do licensing regulations support or hinder the development of markets?

  They support Markets in the fact they can be held—but they are often very detailed and can easily be misinterpreted by traders.

What improvements could be made to the planning and licensing regimes to aid the development of markets?

  Make the planning and licensing of Markets more simple so that everyone understands them and can adhere to them at all times.

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Prepared 23 July 2009