Kettering is the focal retail town in the sub-region of North Northamptonshire. The retail presence in many ways reflects the town’s status as the second largest town in the County.
The town’s retail occupancy rate is higher than the national and regional average as measured by Experian. New major retailers have been attracted to the town recently including Costa Coffee and QD stores. The town has a prominent retail presence with Marks and Spencer, who have recently refurbished their shop, Topshop, Boots, WHSmith, Argos and Waterstones making up just some of the bigger brand names in the town.
However, the retail presence does not yet reflect that consistent with a town of Kettering’s size and catchment area and this is particularly the case given the significant growth in housing that is in progress. A number of other major retailers have signalled their interest in opening retail outlets in the town and the local Council’s planning policies are heavily supporting in town rather than out of town developments.
A proactive marketing campaign is taking place to target new retailers and good opportunities exist to attain an advantage in terms of retail position and to input into the development of the look and feel of the town centre. The local Council is also looking at incentives to help new retailers move into new developments in recognition of the difficult economic climate. The local Council and its partners have pursued a programme of investment in the town and evidence suggests that this is paying dividends in terms of attracting new retailers.