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Gloucestershire Business News

Night time economy key for high streets

Gone are the days when Britain's high streets operated on a strictly 9 to 5 basis. With the increase in online shopping and out-of-town shopping centres, high streets need to embrace the night time economy if they are to survive and thrive in the future.

As reported in The Telegraph , Britain's high streets enjoyed a 1.1% increase in footfall in August, according to the British Retail Consortium, with growth credited to restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

In Gloucester, work continues on the new Butlers nightclub, due to open later this year. While in Cheltenham, The Brewery Quarter continues to expand its range of bars, restaurants and leisure facilities, ahead of its completion in spring 2017.

But the night time economy is about more than nightclubs and bars. Events and festivals too play a key part in boosting the local economy. Festivals and events bring the night time economy to a much wider demographic than the 18-30 year olds who frequent nightclubs, opening up town centres to everyone from toddlers to the over-70s.

Gloucester has just enjoyed a two-week History Festival, with more than 100 events at venues across the city. Cheltenham is well-known nationally for its festivals, particularly the Cheltenham Literature Festival, coming up next month, which attracts thousands of people to the town every year. Stroud Festival has just celebrated 70 years and is launching its new book festival in November. Just last weekend Newent partied into the night at its annual Onion Fayre, while every July Tewkesbury plays host to Europe's biggest medieval reenactment at its Medieval Festival.

While there will always be a need for shops on the high street, both independents and big national chains, the message is clear. If Gloucestershire's high streets are to survive these uncertain post-Brexit times, they need to embrace the night time economy and all it has to offer.

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