The Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University publicised a project called High Street UK 2020. In this they identified the top 25 priorities for local action for places wanting to increase footfall.
The top priority they found was making sure that the town centre was open at the times local residents want to visit. This includes co-ordinating opening hours and including the evening economy, if there is one. Looking at the bigger picture of not just retail activity but the activities local residents require to help them utilise local businesses.
The group also modelled the future of high streets by analysing over half a billion shopper movements. One of their findings was that although footfall will continue to drop, it will be by less than previously predicted.
Towns which work collectively and understand that the town itself has the pulling power rather than individual businesses will be the ones who are better able to succeed in these changing conditions. This will require a solid collective voice from all businesses as opposed to just the retail operators. A vision to promote the town as a whole is the way forward.