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Key Competence/Living

Case Study: Luton Town Centre – coming to terms with rejection

Town centre management at Luton briefed ROI Team to address key questions:

  • Why are people living within easy travelling distance of Luton avoiding it as a shopping destination?
  • Which communities close to Luton are ‘winnable territory’ – and which are a lost cause because of big demographic disparities?
  • What changes would persuade these unwilling souls to visit Luton?


ROI Team employed a range of methods to develop understanding:

  • Site visits to communities including pre-arranged and spontaneous interviews with community leaders
  • Socio-demographic profiling of identified communities using publicly available information
  • Professionally managed and facilitated Focus Groups, using exacting recruitment criteria agreed with the client.


  • Antipathy to visiting Luton town centre is based on perception as much as reality
  • Rejectors are making their decision based on visual prompts – litter, dark approach walks, boarded shops, street drinkers, hooded teenagers – that could easily be refreshed
  • Poor local transport links make communities on Luton’s doorstep (like Dunstable) lost territory
  • Wealthier towns within easy travelling distance reject Luton’s offer based on outdated perceptions (as above)
  • Shopping in Luton has become largely a “distress decision”; other regional centres are preferred as lifestyle choices
  • Perception has grown that stores in Luton have a more limited range than the same fascia in other centres.

Action Points:


    Want to join our Interviewers Team?
    We are always looking for confident and reliable people to join our team of occasional interviewers.

    Working mainly in retail environments carrying out face to face market research interviewing, we are interested to hear from men and women aged over 18, who are not afraid to approach and engage with people, and who are able to work on their feet

    If you think you have what it takes, get in touch with us by sending your biography with a short covering note to recruitment@roiteam.co.uk. Please state in the subject box ‘ROI Team Interviewers’

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