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Together we are making a difference - Hastings Business Association

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The figures tell the story: Retail spending in Hastings has been rising every year for more than three years andthe latest fantastic results show that there is no sign of a slow-down.

The very strong growth can be put down to a number of excellent initiatives, said Hastings City Business Association chairman and BWR Chartered Accountants director Craig Riddiford this week.

Association members are about to be asked if they want to become an official Business Improvement District (BID), a formal structure that has brought much success for business communities internationally.

"This would build on the great results we have already seen. A lot of our success is about working together; the Hastings City Business Association, our members and Hastings District Council.

"Retail statistics are a good indicator of a city’s overall economic health and ours are extremely pleasing."

Figures released by Hastings District Council showed that over the past three years, growth in retail spending had steadily increased - ahead of the national growth average.

In just the last 18 months alone, spending in Hastings had climbed from $47.6 million for the three months to September 2017, to $67m for the same three months last year.

The two earlier quarters of 2018 saw three month sales figures of $67m and $71m. Those figures did not include the traditional ‘high holiday’ Christmas period, which in 2017 reached $81.2m over the three months. The figures for this Christmas quarter, just released, topped $88.8m, up nine per cent on the previous Christmas.

"A great deal of effort has gone into the city, through events and marketing initiatives and a focus on the look and feel of the central area. It has helped build an inviting, thriving business district," said Mr Riddiford.

"Our residents and visitors are enjoying coming into the city for shopping and to carry out

business, and it is a real pleasure to see."

He said the formation of the Hastings City Business Association 25 years ago had been a pivotal action; providing business owners and landlords with a way to have their voice clearly heard around the Council table, and a platform from which to organise events and launch marketing activities.

"Having a focused business platform has been a proven strategy around the world. It is good for everyone within our central city zone; drawing shoppers into retail outlets, which is good for landlords relying on their tenants for income, and encouraging people to carry out other business transactions within an area in which they feel comfortable."

Business owners and landlords within the HCBA zone are about to be asked if they wish to transform the association from its current model to the internationally tried and tested Business Improvement District (BID) model. That would see a continued focus on marketing and events within a strengthened reporting and communications structure.

"As a board, looking across the improvements made to the city and the increased vibrancy and spending figures, we believe we should continue with our now tried and true strategy but I do believe the new structure will add benefits for our membership," said Mr Riddiford.

The board will release a strategy document and summary to members in the next few weeks, setting out the successes so far and a draft plan for the future. ‘Quick chat’ meetings will be held within the city blocks to allow business owners to ask questions.

"What we are looking for is a mandate to formulate this new structure. The six board members are all business owners volunteering their time on the board. What we have in common is a belief that with the support of our membership and the hardworking HCBA staff, we can continue this upward trend that benefits us all."

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