Stratford Market is a thriving borough of London. It is located six miles east northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major centres identified in the London Plan. It was historically an agrarian settlement in the ancient parish of West Ham in the county of Essex, which transformed into an industrial suburb following the introduction of the railway in 1839. As part of the growth of London in the late 19th century, Stratford significantly expanded and increased in population, becoming the centre of administration of the Borough of West Ham in 1886 and it has formed part of Greater London since 1965.

Stratford-MarketThe more recent economic history is underpinned by a move away from railway works and heavy industry towards becoming a significant commercial and cultural centre. Stratford is the location of the London Olympic Park and is currently experiencing regeneration and expansion linked to the 2012 Summer Olympics.  As part of the successful Groupe Geraud group, the Market Village Company offer the individuality of the outdoor market arena in an ‘indoor’ environment.

The market has successfully operated for over 30 years and has been jointly associated under the successful arm of Groupe Geraud for over 11 years. In September 2011 a new complex was built, the Westfield Shopping Centre.

The Westfield offered nearly an additional 2,000,000 square foot of retail space with 5,000 car spaces, making it one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. The new Westfield complex was adjacent to a well-established bus and rail network link and directly opposite the existing Stratford Shopping Centre. The new development was deemed to have had an adverse effect on the customer foot flow to Stratford Shopping Centre and the indoor Market, Market Village. The new Shopping complex and the 2012 Olympics raised the profile of the Town and in turn had a major increase on the amount of shoppers to the town, even if they were not directly entering the Stratford Shopping Centre. It was important to get back to basic of the core values of what a market can provide and get that message out to all parties i.e. the staff, management, traders and the local community, to offer that unique shopping experience that only a market can provide. Action plans were formulated with a view to ensure the short and long term sustainability of the market. To achieve this necessary progress the Market Village Team took the following actions. Encouraged communications and interactions with staff, traders, and management. Retailers were kept up to date with monthly newsletters.

Stratford-Market-Gift-GalleryStart-up packages for new retailers offering them encouragement, guidance, and short term financial support to actively promote their business. Active involvement with the newly formed Town Centre BID team to support, not only marketing and promotional events, but also social activities and fun days within the community Listening to the trading needs of the retailers and modifying the core business opening hours with the facility to offer Sunday trading Developing an ongoing retailer recruitment program to develop a waiting list and trader choice.

Market Village is situated within the Shopping Centre of Stratford Town. It provides two entrances, one on the High Street, the second in The Mall. It has over sixty units within the Centre, which are all fully occupied, with a diverse variety of Traders. There is a long waiting list of traders who want to join the very successful Market Village team at Stratford, should any vacancies arise. Some of the Traders have been at the market since it opened their doors over thirty years ago. Over this time period they have seen many changes, however one thing that they all agree on is how fantastic the market staff are.

All of the comments that I heard while walking around the market were very positive and praised the market staff for always listening to any problems and for trying to come up with solutions to help. Having a strong management team, like the one at Stratford, can go a long way towards having a very successful market. Over the Christmas period the market worked closely with Stratford Town and Newham Council to provide Bavarian huts to local small traders to experience the opportunity of trading during the festive season. The traders at this centre held successful events during the 2012 London Olympics and the customers enjoyed late opening nights shopping.

Many of the customers commented saying,

“This is a great local market place to visit and shop around in Stratford”.

Market Village Stratford is open for business six days each week, Monday to Saturday, from 9:00am – 6:30pm. However the management offer additional facilities for preparation from 6:00am to 7:30pm. There is also Sunday trading on offer in the run-up to the Christmas period.

The Market Management are currently in discussions with regards to the possibility of late-night opening and further Sunday trading.

Market Manager, Kinjal Patel, told MTN,

“We provide both marketing and promotional help to the traders at this diverse market, which helps us to keep a happy customer base and high footfall. All in all we have very positive feelings for the future!”