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


Action for Market Towns Markets Survey (MARKETS 12 BPa)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  For towns with Markets;

    — 61% reported that the Local Authority were responsible for the operation.

    — 49% indicated that there was a Royal Charter on the market.

    — 45% reported that the market still in operation within their town had been in existence for over 500 years.

    — 44% of the towns indicated that the market was held more than once a week.

    — 96% of the towns markets were held outdoors.

    — 80% of towns indicated that "Food and Household Goods" best described the market in their town, with 57% stating "Farmers Market" and 29% "Food Market."

    — From the cohort that indicated their town held "New" markets such as Farmers, Continental and Arts and Crafts, 54% stated that these had been successfully integrated with the older markets.

    — Responses from the 41% who did not feel that the new markets had successfully been integrated centred on the lack of a previous market to integrate with and "New" and "Old" markets being operated in different locations.

    — 40% of towns have in excess of 21 stalls at their markets, 32% have one to 20 stalls and 27% one to 10 stalls.

    — 36% of the towns reported that number of stalls at their towns market had decreased over the last five years. When asked why they felt this was the case, a number of respondents commented that the number of market stalls in their town had decreased due to "increased competition," whilst another theme was the "lack of actual traders."

    — 61% reported that their market had not been affected by Retail Developments within their town.

    — 61% reported that their market had not been affected by Out of Town Retail Developments.

    — 69% reported that their market had not been affected over the last five years by New Regulations.

    — On a scale of 5 Very Positively to 1 Very Negatively, 37% of those who had been affected by Retail Developments rated their effect on the market within their town as (3).

    — From those towns who stated that their market had been affected by Out of Town Developments, 55% reported that this had had a negative effect.

    — 56% of those who indicated that New Regulations had affected the Market within their town felt the effect had been a negative one.

    — 44% of respondents were confident in terms of the future of the market in their town.

    — 60% felt that there were obstacles hindering the successful operations of their existing market traders, and when asked to expand on these obstacles two main themes emerged; "Location" and "Local Authorities".

    — 32% of those respondents with markets in their towns rated the local government support given as Neither Effective nor Ineffective. When Respondents were asked what additional support local or central government could give to markets, and the main theme to emerge revolved around "financial support/incentives".

INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

  Action for Market Towns (AMT) is preparing to respond to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee consultation on traditional retail markets.

  The inquiry considers covered and uncovered markets, including specialist markets serving local people in urban and rural towns and cities. As the voice of market towns, AMT has seen the consultation as both a unique opportunity to consult with members on markets in their towns, and the chance to offer a valid response to the Local Government Select Committee. In order to do this AMT contracted amt-i to design a survey to be disseminated to members and the following report is based on the findings.

  The survey was designed on the SNAP software system by the amt-i Senior Research Consultant and both posted on the AMT website and emailed for members to complete. The survey was "live" for two weeks.

KEY FINDINGS

  108 AMT Members responded to the Markets Survey.


  87% of respondents reported that their town had a market.


  From those surveyed who indicated that their town did not have a market, 50% reported that a market was previously held.

  From this cohort 43% indicated that the market had closed in the last 5 years, 29% 21 to 50 years ago, 14% 5 to 10 years ago and 14% 50 more years ago.

TOWNS WITH MARKETS


  From the 94 respondents whose town had a market, 61% reported that the Local Authority were responsible for the operation. From the 15% who provided the "other" response, the majority stated that the Town Council were responsible for the operation of the market.


  49% of respondents whose town had a market indicated that there was a Royal Charter.


  45% of respondents reported that the market still in operation within their town had been in existence for over 500 years.


  44% of the towns with a market reported that it was held more than once a week.


  96% of the towns with markets reported that they were held outdoors. (Respondents we able to give multiple answers, which is why the percentages add to more than 100)


  80% of towns with current markets indicated that "Food and Household Goods" best described the market in their town, with 57% stating "Farmers Market" and 29% "Food Market." (Respondents we able to give multiple answers, which is why the percentages add to more than 100)


  From the cohort that indicated their town held "New" markets such as Farmers, Continental and Arts and Crafts, 54% stated that these had been successfully integrated with the older markets. Responses from the 41% who did not feel that the new markets had successfully been integrated included the lack of a previous market to integrate with;

    — "Because there were no markets held for many years".

    — "We have not really had old markets before."

    — "Organisers of the separate markets have made no efforts to combine. Space would be an issue, and Farmers Market is keen to emphasise its individuality."

    — "Because the older market ceased to operate many years ago."

    — "There are no older markets to integrate with. A previous attempt to set up stalls for an open air market on a fortnightly cycle failed after a few months. This project was set up by the Town Council in response to requests from the public."

  "New" and "Old" markets being operated in different locations was another reason cited;

    — "The difficult location—away from the High Street—is probably a bigger problem for all three."

    — "The farmers; arts and crafts and fine food markets are held at indoor venue away from location of traditional market which occurs twice a week on the market place. The indoor location was deemed a more suitable location for the events which attract visitors, and these events also occur on non market days."

  Another theme for lack of integration revolved around the "New" and "Old" markets being operated on separate days.

    — "The Farmers Market is run on different days to the Standard Market."

    — "These are usually held on a different day."

    — "The three different markets (general every Friday, farmers and continental ca monthly/less frequently usually at weekend) operate on different dates. To an extent they appeal to different clienteles, but there is some feeling that this compartmentalising prevents a really strong market day impact."

    — "The Market is Every Friday the Farmers/Italian or French Markets are on Wednesdays or Saturdays on some sort of schedule no one understands!"


  40% of towns have in excess of 21 stalls at their markets, 32% have one to 20 stalls and 27% one to 10 stalls.


  36% of the towns reported that number of stalls at their towns market had decreased over the last five years. When asked why they felt this was the case, a number of respondents commented that the number of market stalls in their town had decreased due to increased competition;

    — "Change of culture within younger generations. Most market goods can now be obtained at Pound shops and they are open every day."

    — "Competition from Supermarkets and internet and changing retail patterns."

    — "General recession and competition with shops that now sell cheap goods. E.g. shops such as B&M, Poundland etc, in addition the large hypermarkets, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons et al also provide more competition than hitherto."

    — "Competition from supermarkets and high costs of stalls."

    — "Change in shopping patterns, Decline in general market stall operators Other 'high street' competition."

    — "There are too many out of town shopping places where people can buy everything in one go at super and hyper markets."

  Another theme was the lack of actual traders through a variety of reasons;

    — "They don't seem to be able to make a living from running a market stall."

    — "General decline in market trade".

    — "Difficult to assess but is probably due to a national downturn. New market traders are not replacing those that cease to trade (whether due to death, retirement or a downturn in trade)."

    — "A number of regular traders have retired and the market has a rather small turnover with a small catchment population (<3,500 residents). As the number of stalls dwindles so does the number of regular shoppers and the spiral continues. We only have two to three regular stalls and in bad weather less than that."

    — "Fewer individuals seeing this lifestyle as a viable option with profits which can be slim and hours which can be long and working conditions which can be uncomfortable."

    — "No longer such a popular way of making a living for market traders perhaps?"

    — "Stall holders retiring and not being replaced possible because of falling trade".

  32% stated that the number had neither increased nor decreased.

  From the 19% who felt the number of market stalls had increased reasons provided included;

    — "Housing growth has encouraged a higher footfall".

    — "through the energy of the town clerk".

    — "due to popularity of the public wishing to purchase goods other than from retail outlets".

    — "We have a market manager who is extremely active in advertising the market and finding new stalls."

    — "better run, better quality and more diversity—no junk allowed".

    — "The town is a catchment for a large number of surrounding villages and whilst there are a number of local farmers markets, it appears that the market is better attended by traders than others—possibly because it is on a Saturday."

    — "There is a high demand for pitches which generates very high levels of footfall."

    — "we had a new manager, who invited more stall holders".

    — "Town council has let the franchise to a more committed and enthusiastic franchise-holder with more pro-active support from the town council."

    — "it is one operator who has expanded".

    — "The market enhances the retail offer and has the flexibility to respond very quickly to demand and changing consumer preferences. The market retains a strong presence in the town and receives great support from both local residents and visitors to the area."

    — "Because other traders have seen how successful the market is."

    — "No real idea. Perhaps we give them a fair deal?"

    — "farmer's market has proved popular".

    — "We didn't have a market before. The la tried one earlier, some years ago, but it was not successful. It had a very unfortunate start coinciding with major road works and was not as focused on complementary types of goods as the current farmers market, which does seem to be a success. The site of the current market is better too."

    — "the covered retail market is a well established and very popular shopping area and is open from Wednesday through to Saturday selling a variety of quality foods, butcher, baker, grocers as well as household items, pet foods, bric a brac, books, toys, spices, clothing and so on in 27 shop units. Farmers markets are brought into town throughout the year on bank holidays and focus on traditional local foods with one continental (Italian) market held in may. These are well run markets which have up to 32 stalls and are often a part of a much larger town wide event (ie plum festival throughout august)."

    — "we do not let in to many of the same".

    — "it is a family run market very friendly offer tea coffee for all and a good range of produce".

    — "The street market went into decline 11 years ago when the cattle market closed down but has revived to some extent following the regeneration of the town centre and the building of a covered market facility. It does, however, remain rather quieter than it was 11 years ago."

  Respondents were asked whether or not over the last five years the Market in their town been affected by Retail Developments, Out of Town Developments or New Regulations.


  61% reported that their market had not been affected by Retail Developments within their town.


  61% reported that their market had not been affected by Out of Town Retail Developments.


  69% reported that their market had not been affected over the last five years by New Regulations.


  On a scale of 5 Very Positively to 1 Very Negatively, 37% of those who had been affected by Retail Developments rated their effect on the market within their town as (3). 33% indicated the retail developments had had a Positive effect.


  From those towns who stated that their market had been affected by Out of Town Developments, 55% reported that this had had a negative effect.


  56% of those who indicated that New Regulations had affected the Market within their town felt the effect had been a negative one.


  44% of respondents were confident in terms of the future of the market in their town.


  60% felt that there were obstacles hindering the successful operations of their existing market traders, and when asked to expand on these obstacles two main themes emerged;

  "Location;"

    — "Small location".

    — "Topography of site".

    — "Location/Parking".

    — "Indoor Market Hall is dated and inflexible".

    — "Poor site, being the only land available."

    — "IT SHOULD BE CLOSER TO THE TOWN".

    — "The difficult site (see earlier answer) which is away from the main High Street footfall and very uninviting in wet/windy weather."

    — "The position is appalling. It is the top floor of a car park not visible from the main road."

  "Local Authorities,"

    — "Obtaining a consensus between the Town, Borough and County Councils can be an issue as all three (quite properly) seek to promote their respective although not necessarily identical interests."

    — "No investment in Market. Stall fees expensive. Organisers not specialists in Markets or Marketing. District Council unsure about how to proceed."

    — "The market is run by the District Council which is due to expire due to a unitary authority being formed—this is causing some problems eg stagnation until the new authority is empowered—also uncertainty this brings."

    — "Lack of support and vision by the LA."

    — "The local authority is unable to do enough promotion of the market to satisfy the trader's requirements."

    — "Lack of vision by the council".


  32% of those respondents with markets in their towns rated the local government support given as Neither Effective nor Ineffective. 46% rated the support as either Effective (31%) or Very Effective (15%).

  Respondents were asked what additional support local or central government could give to markets and the main theme to emerge revolved around "financial support/incentives";

    — "Tax breaks for local traders".

    — "Cancel payment of council tax rate for area used by market".

    — "Co-ordination of and funding for marketing and other 'strategic' support".

    — "More funding for improving market areas."

    — "Reduce or waive charges for street closure, which are extremely expensive."

    — "Grants to improve the infrastructure".

    — "They should give cash to ensure good market sites are able to be maintained in sustainable positions in the centres of towns. They should cut beaurocracy and provide assistance to councils to buy and maintain nice stalls to enhance the amenity and allow stalls to be placed on wider public highways where they are visible and can operate in the old tradition of wheeled in barrows."

    — "Lower cost for rental, provide better looking stalls for the traders".

    — "District Council (the provider of the market) could invest more in the market ….applying lower rents and new equipment."

    — "Support both financially and strategically to have vision to adapt the present circumstances to reflect the needs of the consumer".

    — "LA could encourage traders to switch to direct debit payment for stalls—this ensures ease of payment to LA and encourages stallholders to come each week, which in turn encourages shoppers. As a benefit to retailers, they can be given 'free week' when they sign up, and discounted rate for colder months (balanced against higher rate for weekend/summer) It is important to understand that local govt is financially stretched at this time and a question perhaps should be asked—why help a market stall trader over a high street retailer? It is important for Cllrs to understand options—namely that if they want to keep market as an asset for their community, then it will require commitment to fund its promotion. It is not enough to just put up stalls. A political decision will have to be taken at a local level on if the LA should see the market as a 'community asset' in which case they should make some commitment to funding the markets promotion (£8k p.a.) or be happy to let market forces precide, but with a possible consequence of it failing/disappearing over next five to 10 years."








 
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Prepared 23 July 2009