2014 has been a busy and fruitful year for The Local Data Company. Throughout the year we have hosted 6 events across the UK that attracted over 685 attendees. These events would not have been a success without the contributions from panelists and attendees so thank you all for your contribution.
There has been continued interest from the press and media about the state of the high street, retail parks, shopping centres and administrations up and down the country. We have been fortunate to appear in the Financial Times, on BBC, 6pm news, 10pm news, You and Yours and Wake Up to Money to name but a few. 2014 has defintely seen a swing from negative news to positive news as the vacancy rate came down and a number of locations have shown sizes of sustainable improvement. The impact of government funding and policy has continued to be debated, quite rightly, with regards the ROI on this funding be it the Portas pilot towns and the reality of the new planning policies introduced.
We have had a very busy year within our research team where we have updated over 6,000 locations (towns, shopping centres and retail parks) which adds up to over 865,000 updates equating to 20,000 miles of walking from our field research team. Our Flickr images show the bizarre sites the field researchers come across when they are out on the street.
In terms of technology, we have grown our technology team this year and have spent over 14,000 hours in 2014 developing products for our clients. We are collecting and aggregating so much data that now the size of the it means that every night it takes 6 hours to processes in order to create the vacancy rates and respective health indices. There are over 250 million rows of data in our data warehouse!
Overall as a company we have grown our staff by 23% in 2014. We have added an analyst team, enhanced our research team and added to our technology and marketing functions.
In terms of clients, we have added a whole raft of new clients from developers and landlords, to funds, to investors, to banks, which we are very grateful for. Most importantly we have had a 93% renewal rate from existing customers in 2014 – so thank you to our existing and new customers. We have invested in an LDC training academy for all levels and departments in the company as having the best staff is what keeps our innovation alive and enables us to live our vision of SHARING KNOWLEDGE TO CREATE A BETTER PLACE TO BE.
We have continued to work with our academic partners and we are working actively on projects with six universities up and down the country. We also continue to support and work with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) who provide funding into various academic projects in order to better understand the dynamics of our ‘places’ – high streets, retail parks, shopping centres and the companies that operate in them and the communities that support them.
Looking ahead to 2015, we have some exciting projects lined up which we are looking forward to announcing. We are almost ready to release the addition of business rates and floor space (Q1/Q2), which has been a challenging task working with this fragmented public data set. We’re also adding a catchment profiles in partnership with Liverpool University. Another addition is a dynamic typology of places along with an economic vitality index. 2015 will be the year that we integrate client data to add even more value to the insight on what makes a good location be you an occupier or investor. Finally we are looking at creating a national transaction index which will be a key indicator as to how occupancy and investment yields are changing up and down the country.
So a lot to look forward to in 2015. Our first event will be our 11th Retail Summit (kindly hosted by Freshfields in London) on the 4th February. We will also be adding a Welsh Retail Summit in Cardiff (to be kindly hosted by Hugh James in Cardiff) and a number of sector specific briefing events.
It just leaves me to say I wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas and a very Healthy and Happy New Year. Finally a BIG thank you to all our clients and partners for all their support in 2014.