/ Who's Next?

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mypyrex - on 14 Jan 2013
Blacks, JJB, Comet, Jessops now HMV
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c4096aee-5e82-11e2-a771-00144feab49a.html

Who will be the next to fold I wonder?
JGibson - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Clothing will stay high street to some level because people want to try things on.
But any single trick ponies selling stuff in a box which is the same stuff in a box you can get online cheaper........ they'll all go sooner or later.
stroppygob - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Estate agents will go totally online some time in the not too distant. A shopfront with images in the window is not really a great earner.
mypyrex - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to JGibson: On line shopping can be very convenient but, as we have found, WYSINAWYG(What You See Is Not Always What You Get) You've then got the hassle of sending stuff back, getting refunds etc.
cuppatea on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

The cost of fuel will help increase the amount of online shopping I think.

My money's on WHSmith being the next High Street shop to collapse.
rocky57 - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Next. They are next.
gethin_allen on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
BHS will be next IMO, I can't see their niche.
rocky57 - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

BHS isn't next. Next is next.
Uluru on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Waterstones. I have yet to figure out why they have started selling Kindles?
mypyrex - on 14 Jan 2013

I do wonder if some of these firms have just got far TOO big. Just hoping Cotswold are OK.
rocky57 - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Cotswold will be okay, they are not Next.
Taurig - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Goddamit, I have 2 left on a Christmas HMV giftcard, that had better still be redeemable!
gethin_allen on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Uluru:
Hope it's not waterstones, they still have a good deal on maps and every time I've been in one in the last few months the staff have been great and the shops really full. I think they are supplementing their business with the coffee shops they have that always seem full.
The New NickB - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to stroppygob:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Estate agents will go totally online some time in the not too distant. A shopfront with images in the window is not really a great earner.

Especially know the "mortgage advice" element of the business is being restricted by the new selling rules.
The New NickB - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Uluru:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Waterstones. I have yet to figure out why they have started selling Kindles?

Because they want in on that market, but couldn't make their own version work!

There is definitely a place for real bookshops, but they will have to be very clever about how they deal with the market shift.
Blue Straggler - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

One of the optician chains. They rely on a short sighted business model.
Ciro - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:

You might want to buy all the maps you need now then...
Jep_uk - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I'm not surprised, they never seem to have what you want in. Also the games are dearer than everywhere else (when they have them in).

I agree with clothes shops probably being ok, I'd rather try stuff on first as I struggle finding clothes that fit. Although the other half orders online from next and if it doesn't fit she just sends it straight back.
Murko Fuzz - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

That's nothing. The Rod and Gun Shop in Fort William has closed!
Jim C - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Jep_uk:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
>
>
> I agree with clothes shops probably being ok, I'd rather try stuff on first as I struggle finding clothes that fit. Although the other half orders online from next and if it doesn't fit she just sends it straight back.

I tend to go into shops just to try stuff on, then search for a better deal online knowing the size is ok, and having seen the colour etc.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Pursued by a bear - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Uluru: I've read reports about Waterstones finding the going tricky recently. But any shop relying either on a business model that's too diverse (like Woolworths) or where their specialism is cheaper online (like Borders) is going to be in trouble unless they already have a good online presence.

T.
Edradour - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

I agree. I'm not sure why Waterstones haven't come up with some system where you can browse hard copies of books and then order them to your kindle in store. Seems logical to me....
Wiley Coyote - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim C:
> (In reply to Jep_uk)
> [...]
>
> I tend to go into shops just to try stuff on, then search for a better deal online.

That works short term but I think that's what did for Jessop's. People would go in, handle the kit, pick the staff's brains and then look for cheaper online. But whose brain are they going to pick now the biggest specialist camera chain has gone? Sometimes you have to accept you are paying for more than just the kit if you want to be able to get reasonably knowledgeable advice in the future.
Pursued by a bear - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:
> I think they are supplementing their business with the coffee shops they have that always seem full.

It may be me not having paid sufficient attention, but have any of the coffee chains or fast food companies been having difficulties?

If the people have no bread, it still seems they want grease and caffeine.

T.
abseil on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> One of the optician chains. They rely on a short sighted business model.

Starbucks. Their competitors are stirring up trouble.

Wiley Coyote - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
There's no grounds for saying that
birdie num num - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
Well it won't be Wonga.Com or Ladbrokes.
Bimble on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Uluru:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Waterstones. I have yet to figure out why they have started selling Kindles?

They are selling them at a loss, and aren't able to sell the books to go on them, so god knows why they are doing it.

And yes, I can see Waterstones going under soon-ish. Xmas sales for them were right down this year, and they can't compete with Amazon's prices, or even the big supermarkets selling the big titles at well under cost because they can buy in mass volume.

'In the run up to Christmas, James Daunt, the chief executive of Waterstones which had only been sold by HMV months earlier delivered a vicious attack on Amazon, describing it as "a ruthless, money-making devil" and "the consumer's enemy".'

( http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/jan/15/jobs-hmv-administrators )

I give them until the end of the year, which is a shame as they are the best company I've ever had the joy of working with.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Not surprised about HMV, havent they been in the mire for some time.

I think WHSmith will be gone within ten years.

Books are cheaper bought elsewhere, magazines can be purchased from supermarkets (as can books, cheaper), they no longer have a good range in musci or film (cheaper to get online or to download/rent), stationery can be purchased cheaper at supermarkets, more conveniently, as can greetings cards. I used to shop there regularly but I cant remember the last time I bought anything from them.

Specialise, sell cheaper or die.
ThunderCat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Not surprised about HMV, havent they been in the mire for some time.
>
> I think WHSmith will be gone within ten years.
>
> Books are cheaper bought elsewhere, magazines can be purchased from supermarkets (as can books, cheaper), they no longer have a good range in musci or film (cheaper to get online or to download/rent), stationery can be purchased cheaper at supermarkets, more conveniently, as can greetings cards. I used to shop there regularly but I cant remember the last time I bought anything from them.
>
I agree - I can't think of any reason I'd actually choose to go to WHSmith, other than to buy a packet of ciggies

And I quite smoking 6 years ago.



John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

I think there is a generic problem in that there appears a massive blind spot with many folk that high street shops are more expensive than online for a reason - i.e. paying knowledgeable staff, paying rent, dealing with shoplifting, etc.

I also think that customers are mercenary in the extreme, and think nothing of going into a shop, using an hour or two of an assistant's time, then going home and buying the item on the internet.

Of course, the same customer will whine when their source of free advice vanishes, and probably make comment about how they were "too expensive compared with online so brought it on themselves" - of course they were more expensive than online you f*cking moron.

Another problem is the drive to the bottom of the quality spectrum.

Consumers are so price sensitive that any corner than can be cut to drop a few pence on an item is cut. Result: Cr@ppy produce which lasts two minutes and doesn't work well to start with.

There's not enough consumers who value quality enough to actually pay for it, either in service or manufacturing. Consumers want the decent service or product but refuse to pay for it.

The result is that all those shops which gave service will die. Jessops being one. And customers will whinge, whine and blame everyone else but the real culprits - themselves.
mypyrex - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Taurig:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
>
> Goddamit, I have 2 left on a Christmas HMV giftcard, that had better still be redeemable!
Doubt it. Jessops apparently reneged on theirs.

Lord of Starkness - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to birdie num num:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
> Well it won't be Wonga.Com or Ladbrokes.

It would if they relied on tight old sods like me for business.

Andypandyroo - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Funny thing is I thought HMV had already gone...until this morning. Our branch in Chester was so small...not keeping up with the times i'm affraid.

Next to go will be...

Agree with above, estate agents.
john arran - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

I agree with much of that but it isn't that simple. When you go into a shop - even a well-respected one with expert staff - you get one or two people's opinions at most. Often I will feel I can get better opinion online, albeit with a bit of effort sifting through biased reviews.

It's really a question of trust and confidence in the opinion you get and there's no reason in theory why you shouldn't be able to get at least as good service in this respect online as you do in a shop. We've all been in shops and met sales assistants who spout rubbish. It's just a matter of time before trustworthy online sources of info and advice become widely known and maintained. I'm not sure we're there yet in general but in some areas we certainly are; I'd trust an online technology review search much more than any one shop assistant's opinion.

Of course this doesn't get over the 'trying on in the shop' issue.
Andypandyroo - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

The firm said it would not be accepting gift vouchers or issuing any more
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21021073

Only a hill - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
The real problem I see in the decline of the high street is simply this: a physical shop gives something back to the local economy in the form of jobs. Online retailers such as Amazon don't. If retail shifts to completely web-based, which could happen, our economy is going to have to radically change because a great many people work in retail...
mypyrex - on 15 Jan 2013
I think a major problem with "high street" retailers is lack of product knowledge and expertise on the part of staff(at all levels) Years ago somebody would set up a small retail business because they had an interest in and a knowledge of what they were selling. Sadly this is(with a few exceptions) declining and the sales staff are very often school leavers with little customer or product interest. So many times I have been into shops to ask about a product and been met with blank expressions.
Denni on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to john arran:

I agree. There are so many more people writing reviews on the net that you can get a decent opinion on something. Amazon is a classic example, thousands of reviews. I tend to look online for what I want, go to my local stockist to physically play with it, then order online and why not?

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to buy from a local shop to support peoiple in jobs however when I went into my local Dixons to buy a docking station for my ipod, I said I have found one on line 40 cheaper but I'm happy to buy from you if you price match, but they wouldn't so did themselves out of business.

With outdoor stuff, I go to my local S and R or Cotswolds, try the kit on then wait until it comes up on fleabay and buy second hand. I don't get out in the hills often enough to warrant spending hundreds of pounds on kit.

John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
> Years ago somebody would set up a small retail business because they had an interest in and a knowledge of what they were selling. Sadly this is(with a few exceptions) declining and the sales staff are very often school leavers with little customer or product interest.

The reason for this is employing knowledgeable people costs money. If you are already fighting a losing battle with larger retailers and online because consumers will switch supplier at a penny's notice then paying out more money for an expert to be on hand all the time is something you can't afford.

i.e. the reason you get poor service in shops from school leavers is because they are cheap to employ, in which case I revert to my prior point about customers complaining about not getting service they are not prepared to pay for.
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John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Denni:

> I said I have found one on line 40 cheaper but I'm happy to buy from you if you price match, but they wouldn't so did themselves out of business.
>

This is the kind of customer craven stupidity I'm talking about. The expectation that a shop (with premesis, staff, heating, lighting, etc) can afford to price match with an online retailer.

If the shop matches the on-line price they are likely to be selling at a loss. Why the hell would they do that? What benefit is it to them? Your purchase will actually make them poorer.
Tony the Blade on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

Online reviews are free, and tend to be unbiased and impartial. Something that you'd struggle to find in any shop. Free yes, but not unbiased.

I like shopping, what's more i like High Street shopping more than the soulless malls we now have, but they are a diminishing luxury. Online shopping is the future, like it or not.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: W H Smiths...surely? As far as i can tell, they sell magazines and childrens stationary...with a few CDs thrown in. It can't make any money
John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade:
> (In reply to John_Hat)
>
> Online shopping is the future, like it or not.

Absolutely agree.
Denni on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
> [...]
>
> The reason for this is employing knowledgeable people costs money. If you are already fighting a losing battle with larger retailers and online because consumers will switch supplier at a penny's notice then paying out more money for an expert to be on hand all the time is something you can't afford.


If they can't afford to employ someone knowledgeable, then they are already on a slippery slope but why not train them on site? Surely there must be someone in the "shop" that knows about the product and can pass that onto the other members of staff? That wouldn't cost a lot of money. Also, can the people working there actually be arsed to learn anything or indeed even work there? Thats the impression I get from some, not all, younger staff members.

I think consumers are lazy as well and don't arm themselves with enough information beforehand and rely to much on other people to make their choices for them.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers: My biggest concern if the high street dissappears is what will the hords of people who cruise shopping centres all weekend as a lifestyle do with themselves. They will start taking an interest looking at the products through your windows instead lol

fck that...KEEP the shopping centre ALIVE!
Denni on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:
> (In reply to Denni)
>
> [...]
>
> This is the kind of customer craven stupidity I'm talking about. The expectation that a shop (with premesis, staff, heating, lighting, etc) can afford to price match with an online retailer.
>
> If the shop matches the on-line price they are likely to be selling at a loss. Why the hell would they do that? What benefit is it to them? Your purchase will actually make them poorer.


They took the risk in opening up a business, were too greedy, and couldn't keep up with their competitors. Am I supposed to be sympathetic and pay the extra 40 quid?

It may make them poorer, but they also shot themselves in the foot by offering discounted prices if you ordered from them online! Why would you go into a shop and buy something fromn Currys when the same firm are offering exactly the same thing on their website for 20 cheaper? Their own fault.

"Greed is a fat demon with a small mouth and whatever you feed it is never enough"
Tony the Blade on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Denni:

Have you been into B&Q on a weekend lately? Proof that Care in the Community really isn't working!

The single most knowledgeless (muw) shop staff I've ever come across. I'm not blaming the staff, but if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
andic - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:
> (In reply to Game of Conkers) My biggest concern if the high street dissappears is what will the hords of people who cruise shopping centres all weekend as a lifestyle do with themselves.

God I hope they don't take up climbing, imagine the polish

Rob Exile Ward on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat: I'm a bit conflicted here. There are costs in online shopping: good websites are not trivial to maintain, distance shopping regulations means they can be scammed and incur large postal costs (as you know, people can buy stuff obnline and then return them for a full refund, no questions asked); and some 'shopping' is more an iterative, relationship building process then a simple acquisition.

In our case we run an opticians in an arcade in the city centre, we see patients/customers who thought they could get stuff cheaper online ... well they can, but it's not the same. Specs need advice to choose the correct prescription, frames need to fit and be suitable for the selected lenses, they need to be quality checked once they've been made, they need adjusting when worn first time and will later need adjustments and maintenance. Phew. I hope we're not going to be the last business standing in Cardiff High Street!

Ironically although there was some blowhard (James Murray Wells) bragging for years about how cheap he ccould deliver specs online, last time I looked he had yet to make a profit...
Ava Adore - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

If I had a Waterstones nearby I would shop there. Sadly I don't. Maybe they should open a store near me just so that they don't go under.
toad - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Unfortunately HMV also owns FOPP, which sells things I never realised I needed to buy until I got there.

Problem with online retailers (apart from the evil corporate git thing) is that you only buy what you intend to buy, or what they think you might want to buy. There is no substitute for shuffling through the racks and suddenly thinking "bloomin' 'eck, that looks like it might be fun".
drmarten on 15 Jan 2013
I feel like advising the recipient of the 50 HMV gift card I gave them (for Christmas)to take 50 worth of goods from HMV and leave the gift card with the shop. I suspect this would be classed as shoplifting but clearly it isn't is it? I would find it hard to believe an aggrieved gift card holder hasn't tried this already with HMV or a shop in a similar position, after all HMV is still trading as I post.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Tony the Blade: Seconded. Usually my worst retail experiences happen in B&Q.

I bought a radiator in B&Q in a "weekend" sale. Got it out of the box and it was damaged. Phoned them and they had none left in stock, but the next nearest branch did. But they would not exchange at the sale price !?!

I assumed (incorrectly) that they were all the same company with the same prices (like John Lewis). But no. Each store has it's own targets and often doesn't honour what other stores have given.

(That's the condensed version, the reality was a lot more stressfull ;-)
EeeByGum - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: You make a fair point. I do wonder if the high street will reinvent itself. After all, there are some shops which are absolutely amazing to visit. I do think however, that the major stumbling block for many town centres is the cost of business rates and rent.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Argos has to be a contender too, doesnt it. Hideous shop.
malky_c - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Denni:
> (In reply to John_Hat)
> [...]
>
> They took the risk in opening up a business, were too greedy, and couldn't keep up with their competitors. Am I supposed to be sympathetic and pay the extra 40 quid?


You don't have to be sympathetic - it's business. But it does mean that the option of browsing stuff in shops then ordering cheaper online won't be available soon, so you'll lose out there. Not sure if this bothers me as I hate shopping, but things are going to change dramatically.
toad - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:
> (In reply to mypyrex) Argos has to be a contender too, doesnt it. Hideous shop.

but essentially now an online retailer. They are even getting rid of the Laminated Book of Dreams (c)Bill Bailey
Edradour - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) You make a fair point. I do wonder if the high street will reinvent itself.

It will have to I think but there will always be a market for some things to get from a shop.

People will still want to try clothes on, eat out, buy food etc.

Things will change but a hundred years ago we didn't have supermarkets so it is inevitable.

I don't know how far away it is but when we have 3D monitors (holographics or whatever) online shopping will almost be as good as the current experience.

Jim C - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) You make a fair point. I do wonder if the high street will reinvent itself. After all, there are some shops which are absolutely amazing to visit. I do think however, that the major stumbling block for many town centres is the cost of business rates and rent.

Not just the rates, I consulted my 'Focus Group' ( wife and 3 working/spendingdaughters) about our own ailing town centre as the travel away quite a distance to shop Braehead or big centres in Glasgow, even if you put all the shops they want locally they would still NOT go there as the town is now full of neds, the 'shops 'are amusements;too many bookies; cash for gold;money converters etc, but the real killer is that as they actually work , often weekends as well, so the only time they have to spend money is in the evenings when Town Centre shops are closed.

So you can see it is a huge hill to climb for a local business to win back those with disposable income. Reclaim the town and put shops in there that will open late , and the high rates you mentioned
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jim C - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:
> (In reply to Tony the Blade) Seconded. Usually my worst retail experiences happen in B&Q.
>
> I bought a radiator in B&Q in a "weekend" sale. Got it out of the box and it was damaged. Phoned them and they had none left in stock, but the next nearest branch did. But they would not exchange at the sale price !?!
>
Better going to a Plumber's merchant than a retailer, they know what they are talking about and prices should be better.

Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Fickalli: My local high street is Co-op, Budgens, 2 X Kebab shop, fish and chip shop, fried chicken shop,Dominos pizza, curry take away, post office, a cheap and nasty furniture place (for landlords), and four hairdressers.

Thats approx 60% food outlets, 35% hairdressers and a junk shop.
EeeByGum - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Fickalli:

> Things will change but a hundred years ago we didn't have supermarkets so it is inevitable.

I disagree. Ask many people what their hobby is and they will tell you it is shopping. I appreciate that online is the way forward on some items, but you only have to look at shops like John Lewis to see that people are quite happy to pay a bit extra if you get exception service in return, and I for one have never been disappointed there. High street shops just don't seem to understand this simply factor of shopping experience. That said, I do think councils sees town centres as cash cows. Altringham town centre has now been completely decimated when the council doubled rates over night.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers: Which makes me think that the best business to be in is hairdressing whilst offering beauty treatments, and if I really wanted to kill it...add a creche facilities , a decent coffee machine and home made cakes.

Bingo, every stay at home mum drawn in like flies to naked flame handing over notes and notes of cash
EeeByGum - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:
You aren't far wrong. Our local indoor play centre has it's own in-house hair dressers.

Jim C - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:
> (In reply to Game of Conkers) Which makes me think that the best business to be in is hairdressing whilst offering beauty treatments, and if I really wanted to kill it...add a creche facilities , a decent coffee machine and home made cakes.
>
> Bingo, every stay at home mum drawn in like flies to naked flame handing over notes and notes of cash

I don't think so , my daughter worked in a high end beauty spa treating celebrities etc, and gave it up to start her own mobile business taking the treatment to the customers own home to get round the fresh issues, but still has to waitress long hours to top up her income, it is very competitive and she certainly cannot charge whatever she likes, so the reality is not loads of cash.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim C: You're right about competitive. Hairdressers popping up everywhere.

A neighbour was telling me that barber shops are quality "fronts" for drug dealers.

"Ever seen anyone in there getting their hair cut?"
"err, no"
" seen his car...flashy Merc?"
"err , nope"
"all cash...perfect front...drug dealers , I tell you"
"err, ooookaay"
Graham Mck on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:
>
> A neighbour was telling me that barber shops are quality "fronts" for drug dealers.
>

Certainly brings a whole new meaning to being asked "whether sir would like something for the weekend!"

paul-1970 - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:
> Ask many people what their hobby is and they will tell you it is shopping.

Which is, subjectively, perhaps the only positive thing that may come out of this evolvement of the High Street - that many people will need to find alternative and perhaps improved ways of enjoying recreational time.

Someone in my office this morning said "How will people socialise without the shops to visit on a High Street?" which again, is a remark I think tinged more with sadness than positivity.

These are public spaces, and public spaces can and should be enjoyed for the recreational and social spaces they are without the need for retail. Or at least, without retail being the whole point of one visiting.

So maybe we can sit and home and shop online for some goods. Then visit the out of town supermarket for the food shop. And then visit the centre-town wide open attractive public space to socialise, be enthused by art or sculpture, exercise or simply find the quiet corner to sit comfortably, pensively and hapily with the book - electronic or otherwise.

I know my points are subjective, the positives I mention are simply my positives. And I am not being so crass as to ignore the dreadful consequences either to the individual or society at large, by people losing their jobs in retail. But this is evolution - the high street wasn't always there and designed purely for retail. It was for a while, it probably won't be for much longer. So it's perhaps opportune to gather whatever positives ther are from this, and to reconsider what exactly we could or should use these public thoroughfares and spaces for.
Philip on 15 Jan 2013
I think some of the clothing stores would go if they could find a way to work from online better.

If a chain was to just have a small store with clearance clothes only, plus catalogues and terminal for ordering online and changing rooms to try on your purchases when they arrived in store. You could return them very easily.

In fact Next almost do this. They have clearance stores and they allow ordering to store.

Where so many of these stores have gone wrong is that they closed down the independents by having a wider range of stock and cheaper prices. They then got b*ttf*cked by the very consumers they taught to care only about price.

The redundancy situation is the only sad part. The loss of these brands than ruined the high street is their own fault. If people want to stop the rot further then look to the brands that haven't quite achieved this yet - Currys, Tesco, Asda.
thin bob on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:
I'm surprised (but happy) that Waterstones are still going.

There is a cost to online shopping, though it can be cancelled out or be irrelevant sometimes.
Both in-store and online purchases need some time...but at least with shops, you're getting some exercise and social interaction. maybe even some brownie points from your Better half for going out & getting some quality time together :-)

First, you have to wait for delivery (delayed gratification, can't use it, stress or excitement waiting for it);
Sometimes, you take a day off for delivery, or to collect it from the post office, or to chase it up.
And then, maybe it doesn't fit/isn't quite right.

Sometimes, it's worth paying the extra fiver to check the thing, get what you want, there & then & start using it.

I bought a diamond sharpener recently; it looked just like one i'd seen in a shop. when it turned up, it wasn't as good. A bit disappointing, but worked out fine as I was working to a strict task/price.


Back to the original point...I've never bought a sofa, carpet or vacuum cleaner. I am amazed how carpet places stay in business!
Tall Clare - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

What do Waitrose have to do with Waterstone's?
EeeByGum - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: oops! :-)
toad - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Game of Conkers:

>
> A neighbour was telling me that barber shops are quality "fronts" for drug dealers.
>
>
Thought that was "hand car washes"?
Wiley Coyote - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey. ...
John Ruskin
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to toad: Thx, I will tell him. There is one nearby that he can get worried about ;-)
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: John Ruskin obviously never met Alan Sugar
John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
>
> In our case we run an opticians in an arcade in the city centre, we see patients/customers who thought they could get stuff cheaper online ... well they can, but it's not the same. Specs need advice to choose the correct prescription, frames need to fit and be suitable for the selected lenses, they need to be quality checked once they've been made, they need adjusting when worn first time and will later need adjustments and maintenance. >

As you know, Lady Blue is an optician, so this is very close to my heart.

Her place is struggling precisely because of on-line competition. Someone comes in, has an eye test, spends an hour or so chatting to Lady Blue, chooses some glasses, types the specification into google on their smartphone, asks Lady Blue is she can match the price, she says no - in fact the on-line price is sometimes cheaper than she can *buy* the frame for - at which point the customer screams in her face (no, I am not joking), gives her a load of profanity-laden verbal abuse, and walks out.

Lady Blue wipes the spittle from her face, and carries on, having just lost money on the eye test, and spent 90 minutes of her time on a customer to gain nothing from it.
Tall Clare - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

I don't understand the 'online optician' thing - I'm a bit scuzzy because I use Boots rather than an independent, but I like being able to go and talk to someone about my eyes, pick up spare lenses if I've lost one, etc.
Blue Straggler - on 15 Jan 2013
ads.ukclimbing.com
John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Not that I wear specs, but personally I'd do the same as you. Not least because Lady Blue would tear my eyes out if I didn't.

However, if you're a bit of a cheapskate, who doesn't give a toss about your eyes, you can go and get an eye test done at a regular opticians. The actual cost of an eye test is about 75 (1), but the market won't stand that, so you get charged a lot less. That's a loss for the optician for starters.

Which they hope they'll recover through selling your glasses.

So you spend a while with the optician, looking through their range, seeing what works for you, etc.

However you actually make a note of the frame name and make, particulars, etc, walk out and go to an online site, and input all the details from your prescription, and order the glasses from the online site for a lot less than the optician would charge you.

Thing is, no-one is checking the fit of the glasses when they arrive, whether they are actually giving you the best vision (prescription changing obviously with distance from eye), etc.

It's a lot cheaper for you and the reason why many opticians - especially the small independent ones - are going out of business.

(1) If nothing else, the machines cost a *fortune*. Really a fortune. Hundreds of thousands of pounds.
John_Hat - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Incidentally, a lot of Boots stores are franchises, so you are effectively getting an independent.

Lady Blue used to manage a branch, back in the day when Boots used to have professionally (optically) qualified folk as branch managers.
mypyrex - on 15 Jan 2013
I think the National Lottery are next - their web site's been down for two days! 80(
Jaffacake - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Philip:

I can't see that happening on any sort of scale with clothes stores.

I prefer browsing clothes in reality than online, it's easier and how the fabric hangs and feels isn't something you can tell online.

My size varies massively by shop and to a certain extent within the same shop, so I usually try things on in 2 or even 3 sizes, I usually forget what size I am 'in x shop' and have to try stuff on anyway.

Same with shoes, I'm anywhere from a 4 to a 6, depending on the make and style of shoe as well as a single pair at a size 7, it varies so much, even among the same company, for example I have 3 pairs of shoes from five:ten in 3 different sizes, 3 pairs from rocket dog in 2 different sizes, etc.

I know I'm only one person but I think this is something experienced by most women and I think the majority would rather shop in real shops. Blokes not so much, but you just walk in, pick up the size you always pick up with some confidence it might fit and buy it :P

There will also always be people who want (or need) to be able to get things NOW, not wait a few days for it to be delivered.
Jaffacake - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

I've tried using online glasses things, but having 4 pairs sent out to look at (some free trial thing), despite measuring my glasses, spending a good couple of hours looking through the options before choosing those 4 I still hated every pair.

It takes me a good hour or two of trying on every pair in the shop to find a pair I like.

I dread the thought of losing giant rooms full of glasses for me to try on, I'm terrible at shopping for them, they are all too big except 'teen' frames, of which few places carry more than a handful. This causes me massive feelings of guilt when I've had an eye test and unfortunately even though I've tried every pair on in the shop 3 times they are all either horrible or far too big for my face and I have to go somewhere else anyway (typically my glasses shopping takes a day or two and involves multiple trips to every shop in whatever city I happen to be in to try everything on several times). And I'm dreading it, I need a new pair, I hate these ones anyway, they are so scratched I can't see properly and held together with super glue. But I'm so bad at finding glasses.

Anyway opticians can't disappear - where would we get our eye tests?
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: It's Blockbuster Video!
Pursued by a bear - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: And the winner is...

...Blockbuster video. I assume the name will now change to Blockbust?

T.
Frank4short - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Not had a chance to read the full thread yet, so it's possibly this may have all ready been posted, there's an interesting blog post here: http://www.philipbeeching.com/2012/08/why-companies-fail-rise-and-fall-of-hmv.html It's by the head of the advertising company that held HMV's account for about 25 years. Basically the gist of it is they thought they were invincible from such a long period profitability and market dominance and basically brought it upon themselves.

This is one of the most telling quotes "I got to know two young entrepreneurs from Jersey, Richard Goulding and Simon Perree who started the highly successful online games, music and video retailer, Play.com in 1998, and I remember them saying to me, "We were just waiting for HMV to turn their big guns on us but we just kept on going and getting bigger and bigger, and thinking they must be going to get their act together soon and come after us but they never did". I think this comment says it all"
jonfun21 on 16 Jan 2013
"because a great many people work in retail..."

This is a key economic issue the UK faces, our over reliance on retail has to be addressed. Investment in other sectors needs to be a priority for government money rather than trying to prop up a sector which has got too large vs. public ability to support it via spending (usually via unsustainable credit).

Of the chains that are going bust many of them offer very few benefits compared to online (e.g. staff not experienced or very unhelpful). The ones that survive will be ones that offer something more than you can get online.

The point made by the JL CEO about equality of taxation arrangements was a good one, he states he is all for competition if it is on a level playing field.

That said given the economic constraints you can understand people just selecting based on price for easily comparable goods. The fact a lot of JL stuff is their own brand helps them in this regard.

Another good quote someone reminded me of the other day was someone saying "we can't afford to buy cheap" basically that people need to focus on the total price rather than just the upfront cost.
jonfun21 on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Interesting link, it is very common that established large companies fail to spot the end of their markets.

History is littered with examples from ice merchants and mechnical refrigeration through to Kodak and digital cameras.

Often this is due to them listening just to their established and often declining consumer base and missing a disruptive shift in technology outside of this group, which eventually sees mass adoption by their consumer base.

If your particularly interested this is a good read, it was a set text at for a course at uni for me:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mastering-Dynamics-Innovation-James-Utterback/dp/0875847404/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UT...

Note: Also available from other tax paying retailers both bricks and clicks :-)
balmybaldwin - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

M&S was always the case study for this inability to react to the market, however they had 2 major things going for them:

1. They were brought to their knees in the middle of a boom rather than a recession
2. They had the blue rinse brigade that would not easily have their heads turned to other shops
TheDrunkenBakers - on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Hmmm, Blockbuster and HMV, there's a pattern emerging here.

Both relics with a static offering, scruffy retail premises and overpriced.

Blockbuster had it coming from all angles. The rental game has gone mail order and online with Netflix and LoveFilm and their new and used offerings are cheaper online and through eBay.
Hillwalker - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: So once all the High Street stores are gone, I wonder what the people will do who currently go in-store to look at and compare stuff, handle it and try it out, get advice on it then go home and order it online?

Maybe online stores will open up shops where you can't buy anything, they won't have any stock so its cheap to run, you can just go and in and have a look before you go home and buy it.
dissonance - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

> History is littered with examples from ice merchants and mechnical refrigeration through to Kodak and digital cameras.

the strange thing with Kodak is was they were at the forefront of digital cameras, even after everyone decided not to compete their patents still sold for a fortune.
jonfun21 on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to dissonance: True but they are a fraction of the company there once were after the digital revolution. They also missed that people wouldn't print much out and continued to invest R&D money in improving high quality development processes and locations which were never used / subsequently shut.
Bimble on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

I am surprised their 'home nuclear reactors' never took off in popularity though

http://www.petapixel.com/2012/05/14/kodak-had-a-nuclear-reactor-in-the-bowels-of-its-rochester-campu...
Ramblin dave - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Hillwalker:
Am I weird for reading all the reviews of something on Amazon and then wandering in to a local shop to buy it because I don't want to have to wait for it to be delivered?
pneame on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Hillwalker:
Interestingly, Apple have this model and their bricks and mortar stores are often packed and have the highest return per square foot of any B+M store
Ramblin dave - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to pneame:
Maybe that goes some way towards explaining the increase in brand-specific stores in outdoors gear as well - Patagucci don't care as much whether you buy something in their store or go home and look for the best price for it online...
onthehighground - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex:

Due to poor customer service my money is on Halfords.
ads.ukclimbing.com
pneame on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I think this is true - branding is a MUCH bigger deal than it was a few decades ago, about the only thing I can recall being branded then was ski gear
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to jonfun21:

That's a classic case of the capital item being quite cheap, and the consumables expensive. A bit like printers, say.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I certainly researched features and prices of TVs on t'Web while standing in front of them at Richer Sounds, before choosing and buying one in the shop.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I actually like Argos a lot. It is online shopping without the faff of dealing with useless couriers, particularly now you can reserve.

Neil
Turdus torquatus on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to gethin_allen:
> (In reply to mypyrex)
> BHS will be next IMO, I can't see their niche.

I had a Saturday job at BHS when I was a kid, several decades ago. I couldn't understand what their niche was then, and I still can't, but they keep going on. I fancied a girl on the cheese counter.

Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

"I think there is a generic problem in that there appears a massive blind spot with many folk that high street shops are more expensive than online for a reason - i.e. paying knowledgeable staff, paying rent, dealing with shoplifting, etc."

Except for that most high-street chains don't "pay knowledgeable staff". They under-pay poorly-trained staff who don't know as much about their products as you do.

Jessops may have been an unfortunate exception, but the High Street has effectively blighted itself.

Woolies was a strange one - it still exists in a sense and it even begins with a W - Wilkinson seems to be doing OK for itself and it seems closer to Woolies' original business model.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:

I always wondered what kept them going, they tended from what I could see just to be a downmarket, mucky, dowdy version of Marks and Sparks.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

The problem with that is opticians' business models.

That will need to change to charging a properly representative price for the professional service of the eye test (30, perhaps, at a random stab at a figure?) and then sell spectacles at a more representative price - or not worry if the customer goes elsewhere.

Neil
Wiley Coyote - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to pneame:
> (In reply to Hillwalker)
> Interestingly, Apple bricks and mortar stores are often packed and have the highest return per square foot of any B+M store

Could be because their kit is mostly small but very high ticket.

subalpine - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to mypyrex: Big Coffee and H&B

Milesy - on 17 Jan 2013
Every high street is the same. It is the same shops on every street. In many cases several of the same shops in walking distance to each other.

Many city centre shop spaces have rent so big that only big chains can move in them. Small shops need to close down and move to back streets and city centre outskirts. The empty spaces are taken by those who can afford the rent. More HMVs, more Topshops and more H&Ms.

It isnt even much to do with the price to me. It is complete oversaturation and overgrowth of the same places. Next to my work there is 2 HMVs, 3 H&Ms, 3 top shops, 4 starbucks, 2 costas. Every shop in the walk from train station to office is chain chain chain. All the great wee indy shops are stuck away where people only visit them on purpose or word of mouth. There is absolutely no chance for opportunity/chance shoppers.
Philip on 17 Jan 2013
I thought BHS had already gone years ago.

Argos shares are doing well this year.
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: FWIW the margins even on spectacles are not that great compared to many retailers, especially as we have higher exposure to risk (no one ever sued M & S because their knickers didn't fit). (On contact lenses they are derisory.)

As opticians it's down to us to communicate the value we add and if don't add value or communicate how we do then ... bye bye. Which is fair enough.



Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to onthehighground: I don't get Halfords at all, but over the years I've spent quite a bit there....

Round here they also seem to have moved to low rent, car accessible locations which as a retailer of car accessories seems a shrewd move, really.

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