Henley High Street Performing Better than National Trend

South Oxfordshire’s market towns continue to perform better than most when it comes to the number of shops open along the main high streets, with more than 94 per cent of units currently occupied.

The annual South Oxfordshire retail vacancy survey took place in January across Henley, Thame and Wallingford, with all three towns well below the national average when it comes to the number of premises which are empty.

In Henley just 12 out of the 281 available units (or 4.2 per cent) in the town centre were empty, an improvement from a year ago when 17 properties were unoccupied, and significantly below the national vacancy average which lies around 13.5 per cent. Importantly, the town has also seen 15 new businesses open in the past year.

Peter McConnell, Henley’s Town Manager commented:

“Henley has a fairly robust retail environment however we shouldn’t be under any illusion that it is immune to the prevailing national trends. Since the data was collected in January more shops have closed in Henley and imminent closure of Blockbuster’s will leave a big space on the Market Place. However our independent stores do a great job, many of them work very hard to ensure customers return time and again. It is also refreshing that Henley is not seen as a ‘clone’ town with a “high street” full of national brands.”

“As readers may have seen I am investigating the opportunities for launching a loyalty/rewards scheme in the town, alongside the Henley Partnership. A number of retailers have been involved and we have looked at four possible options. We will seek to make a recommendation in the next few weeks. However we will then need to find a way of funding the scheme and to ensure that it is robust and delivers good value for both retailers and consumers.”