Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking St Albans City of ExpertiseThe Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking 2017 places St Albans in 15th place out of 1000 centres. The ranking sees St Albans move up 7 places since 2014.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking Index ranks all retail centres in Britain by quantifying the ‘retail health’ of each centre. This year’s Index has been expanded to 1,000 from 500 centres and finds that Vitality is measured through: a combination of the proportion of up-market shops; the proportion of value-led shops; the vacancy rate, and the proportion of ‘undesirable’ shops – such as pawnbrokers, money lenders, and bookmakers. In addition, these variables are also compared to the demographic composition of the centre’s catchment area and a greater score is given to areas whose retail mix is optimally adapted to the local community.

Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking, said, “This iteration builds considerably on our inaugural Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking Index, released in 2014, which was the first retail ranking in Great Britain to emphasise the quality of retail in a centre, in addition to its size. In this release, by popular demand from both retailers and investors, HDH have incorporated additional small towns and high streets, which gives a greater range to the ranking, and allows for comparison of local high streets with major retail destinations. We’ve also included a number of temporal variables – tracking the change in retail mix of a centre over the past 5 years, to credit those that have improved, and penalise those that have deteriorated.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs Vitality Ranking index includes British centres with greater than 40 multiples, ranging from local high streets to regional shopping malls and major city centres. However, retail parks and outlet centres have been excluded, as their remote locations mean they are not intrinsically linked to the local area, and so their health does not impact the community in the same way.

Hertfordshire has two centres in the top 50 with Berkhamsted in 16th place.