Old tricks, new money

Richard SiddleFEARS of mass high-street agency closures and reports that a major retailer is considering selling the leases on some of its retail estate to get its hands on much-needed cash is hardly a shot in the arm for the industry.

But such steps, along with the trend towards franchising outlets, may ultimately prove positive if they help the big four re-invent themselves and make their businesses more viable.

The sale and lease-back of retail property is a phenomenon that has taken a grip of much of the high street. The British Retail Consortium estimates that three-quarters of retail shops are now leased. It is a credible and effective strategy that has given Tesco an extra £4 billion to play with.

This might be a short-term strategy, but if it enables the retailers involved to use the money raised to invest, drive up their core sales and deliver a better service to customers, then it could have long-term benefits for the sector.

Much has been said about the viability of the vertically integrated players, but signs that they are adapting and exploring every retail trick in the book to keep going forward can only be good for the travel industry as a whole.

Calling all bloggers

Are you a frustrated writer, full of opinions but unable to get them off your chest?

Well the new Travel Weekly blog could be the answer. In the coming weeks we are looking to set up an industry blog where anyone in the industry can go online and post their thoughts and views on the key issues of the day.

It could be a weekly diary, a rant, or it could be some advice you want to pass on. The Travel Weekly team will also be blogging away giving their views on the key developments of the week.

We are also looking to recruit five star Travel Weekly bloggers who would be prepared to write a regular blog.

If you fancy giving it a go, send us a sample 150-200 word blog post on a travel subject of your choice to travelweekly@rbi.co.uk. Remember: the more memorable entries will have a better chance of being chosen.