Non-motoring > High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) Green Issues
Thread Author: No FM2R Replies: 27

 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - No FM2R
www.bbc.com/news/business-51047334

The headline is Mothercare closing but the article covers the whole high street retail situation.

To a large, and admittedly overly simplistic, extent the amount of money that people have to spend on non-essential retail is reasonably constant and in line with inflation.

So every £ spent on Amazon et al is £1 less spent on the High Street. Why do people find the deteriorating High Street such a surprise? Obvious, isn't it?
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Robin O'Reliant
Yup.

People on cycling forums routinely moan about cycle shops closing yet post about the cheap prices they got something for online. The same applies to most forms of consumer goods.

The High Street won't die, but it is in the process of changing far from it's traditional appearance.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Bromptonaut
>> People on cycling forums routinely moan about cycle shops closing yet post about the cheap
>> prices they got something for online. The same applies to most forms of consumer goods.

Bikes are a good example of value of shops, or at least those with knowledgeable staff. When I worked in London my bike shop of choice was Simpsons in Camden/Kentish Town. Could just about get up there by bike or public transport in a flexitime lunch break. They stocked a good range of parts and staff knew exactly what I needed to sort out bottom bracket on The Lad's uni bike. I bought the part there, too many other punters took the advice, went off to 'think about it' and saved 90p buying the part online.

Inevitably Simpsons closed down.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - CGNorwich
It’s certainly obvious that online spending will have a proportionate effect on the high street . I find it depressing though. Our high streets, market, towns and villages are one of the things that made our country distinctive and a pleasant place to live. At the end of the day when the last shop closeds and the pubs have all disappeared along with the local schools, police stations, Post offices and hospitals will we all be rejoicing that we have saved a few pounds by spending our lives looking at a screen and doing everything efficiently on line. I rather think not.
Last edited by: CGNorwich on Sun 12 Jan 20 at 17:22
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - No FM2R
>> I find it depressing though

So do I, bu I have a ray of optimism, which may just be my unwillingess to accept the inevitable;

Butchers, Bakers, and milkman almost died out because it was a penny cheaper in Tescos. However, all seem to be on a resurgence in areas where people both appreciate quality of service and are happy/able/willing to pay for it.

I suspect that in the future the High Street will ultimately become the place where those who want quality and are happy to pay for it will go. Be that tailors, butchers or whatever

There's also sort of things that will result from that, not all of them good; depending on where you are in the league of customers that retail stores want.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Robin O'Reliant
High Street shopping was always a pain in the butt. Most of the shops only open when you are at work, often a limited supply of goods if you didn't live in one of the big cities and fewer and fewer places you could park the car. Let alone the crowds and salespeople who were all over you like a rash if you went in to browse and then steadfastly refused to meet your eye if you wanted to buy something.

Internet shopping is a marvellous experience, virtually every available and obscure product you could wish to buy delivered to your door in a day or two at cheap prices. Bricks and mortar shops will survive and thrive, but only those who deserve to do so by offering a good and knowledgeable service. It is the inefficient and the cowboys who will disappear.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - CGNorwich

>> I suspect that in the future the High Street will ultimately become the place where
>> those who want quality and are happy to pay for it will go. Be that
>> tailors, butchers or whatever
>>

That may be true. I do notice that the small towns that have mainly independant shops rather than the national chains seem to be doing rather better.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Terry
I agree that the traditional high street is changing. I am no great fan of trailing around shops but it clearly affects many - both customers and jobs. To stop it dying we need to find a sustainable future.

Online shoppping is clearly having a major impact - in a competitive world where most have to make hard choices as to where they spend their money, the online offering is very compelling.

The next pressure point will be the out of town retail parks where online shopping of household basics (loo rolls, canned products, flour, sugar, some veg etc) for delivery is increasing rapidly. It is probably also environmentally sound to have one van delivering (say) 5-10 loads that all individually going to the store.

This may be an opportunity for the traditional high street - I prefer to look at fresh food before I buy - meat, fruit, fish etc. Lets hope small specialist shops thrive!
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Zero

>> The next pressure point will be the out of town retail parks where online shopping
>> of household basics (loo rolls, canned products, flour, sugar, some veg etc) for delivery is
>> increasing rapidly. It is probably also environmentally sound to have one van delivering (say) 5-10
>> loads that all individually going to the store.


Nearby we had a semi failing mini retail park, an empty unit was taken over by home bargains, selling loo rolls, canned and packet goods, etc etc. The car park is now heaving, and sometimes you have to queue to park. Footfall in all the other shops in the park is up.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Terry
"Pile it high, sell it cheap" obviously works in places.

That's how Tescos first started (urban myth?) and has been adopted very successfully by Lidl, Aldi and now Home Bargains!
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Ambo
The remaining branch of Britain's oldest department store (Beales, 1881) will probably close down because it can't pay the rent. Online sales are doing it to death. It is local to us and has been an excellent place to buy high quality clothes, something particularly hard to do online, especially as there appears to be no standard definition of Small, Regular etc. sizes.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - sooty123
I prefer doing shopping online, it's not really that it's often cheaper but more the choice and convenience. I'd happily pay more for online shopping. The choice is something shops can't compete on, I find anyway. Some shop in the nearest town might well have it but only after you've spent ages traipsing about.
If more shops do close, there's nothing to say that the buildings must always be shops. I'm sure that they can be put to other good use.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - CGNorwich
The thing is we are social animals. We need to go out and interact with people. Sitting on the couch ordering stuff and waiting for it to be delivered seems a poor substitute to me. I like shopping, even going around the supermarket, I like seeing what’s new, I like chatting to the guy who run the vegetable stall on Norwich Market, I like browsing for clothes and trying them on I like a quick coffee in one of Norwich’s many cafes.

The internet is fine for ordering a spare part for the washing machine but that’s it.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - sooty123
Can't say small talk is much of a draw for me, but each to their own.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - CGNorwich
I guess I prefer a bit of the real world from time to time. Do you take your holidays on Google Earth? ;-)
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - sooty123
I suppose if shopping is your only chance of human interaction in Norfolk, then chatting about turnips is bound to be a highlight of the week. ;-)
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - CGNorwich
Do you ever find your conversations with Alexa a bit limited?
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - sooty123
Nah she's pretty chatty about fruit *and* vegetables.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - legacylad
I enjoyed shopping in Leeds last Saturday! 3 shops where I’d done ‘click and collect’....living out in the sticks visiting the big city is always a very different experience. Shop in the AM, watch a film, a few beers, train home.
I only buy shoes online if they are exact replacements. On this occasion I couldn’t find what I wanted, but quite enjoyed the experience of going into JLewis and other shoes emporiums before the film started.
Still didn’t find what I wanted at the price I was prepared to pay!
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Duncan
>> shoes emporiums ..............
>> Still didn’t find what I wanted at the price I was prepared to pay!
>>

Here you go

www.shoezone.com/
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - legacylad
Converting retail premises to ‘other use’ isn’t that simple. Friends of mine are landlords of single use retail premises. Trying to get planning permission to turn them into residential ain’t easy.
One very recent instance is a business ( small retail business with living accommodation over) that closed down. My pal has paid £500 to the council for change of use permission. The next council meeting is in 5 weeks time. In the meanwhile he’s no rental income, a mortgage to pay on it, utility standing charges, and he’s a very good landlord.
Highly unlikely to rent it out again as retail. Painful lesson learnt for him
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - sooty123
>> Converting retail premises to ‘other use’ isn’t that simple. Friends of mine are landlords of
>> single use retail premises. Trying to get planning permission to turn them into residential ain’t
>> easy.
>

I'm sure it is, but no reason why it should be. If there's a surplus of empty buildings we should try and use them for something else.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Bobby
A few random thoughts:

Mike Ashley is bleating to landlords that they need to be sensible with their rents otherwise more units will close down. He owns a retail unit in Glasgow, Parkhead Forge Retail , and guess what, it has empty units as the landlord wont drop his price.....

Several years ago we had High Streets full of shops, many independent. Many of these were staffed with full and part time permanent workers. The owners paid taxes, staff paid taxes. Staff were able to get mortgages and loans as they had permanent secure jobs. Now we have town centres run down, many workers automatically on minimum wages and more often than not, zero hours contracts. So little chance of getting mortgages, loans etc for the circle of economy. Instead we have online presence like Amazon with shady tax practices, employment practices and many zero hour contracts in place. Mix these practices in with Universal credit issues and you can see why it all has hugely adverse impact on our society.

I recently did some agency work at a local factory. The company is owned by a tax exile who is one of Scotland's wealthiest people. I would say that around 50% of the people working there were agency staff - zero hours contracts, not knowing till you get a text on the Fri afternoon whether you have any shifts the following week. Brutal way to live.

Beales - I actually know one of their senior managers, just texted him to show him my concern.

As many will know I recently ran a chain of charity shops - many customers say they are the scourge of the High St - ask and landlord and they are their preferred tenant now as they know they will have good covenant. But my experience is many landlords are burying their heads in the sand. They have asset values and rental returns that are unrealistic but they are not willing to write these down so would prefer to have them lying empty!

Finally, Councils have waged war on motorists for years, driving them to retail parks for parking. For a town centre to work, on street parking is a necessity. You want customers to be able to come in and park and run to the butcher / baker / bank etc. If you force them into parking in Morrisons car park, guess where they will shop??

 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Bobby
A few years back I attended a Council Meeting regarding the failure of Kirkintilloch Main St shopping area. It has a manin street around 3/4 mile long and then a ring road that bypasses this from one end to the other.

I suggested that they had the ideal tool to make it a success. Make the Main St one way and have on street parking for the full length and encourage customers into the town. the bypass was ideally placed to take traffic back up the opposite way.

They refused to discuss the idea as it conflicted with some green agenda or target to reduce car journeys.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - zippy
>> A few random thoughts:
>>
>>

Spot on Bobby!

The county council sets on road parking fees here and are putting up the charges. Shop owners are begging them not to but they don't care!

Then we have the crazy situation locally where there are 50 odd spaces down a street. Half the street is public parking and the country council collects the charge. The other side is private - owned by the local council and they collect charges - even though it looks like a road. Problem is that all the pay and display machines are down the middle of the road so it's very easy to get the wrong one and you will get a fine - it's even the same traffic warden!
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - Bromptonaut
>> Finally, Councils have waged war on motorists for years, driving them to retail parks for
>> parking.

I don't think motorists took much driving. Even if there was cost free parking in town you had, on Saturday morning, to find a space on one or another of several car parks that operated at capacity; driving round in circles.

When we moved here (Northampton) 30 years ago we gave up trying to park in town and, as I had a season ticket there, parked at station and walked the last half mile.

Then we got an edge of town Tesco, two retail parks on the Southern Relief road etc etc.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - R.P.
I shop for food - I'm too lazy to shop online. I also shop in the local town for stuff I can't readily get on line, some niche stuff. I visited a tea and cheese shop in a nearby town the other day with a friend (who is into both cheese and tea) I came away with some loose tea and some nice cheese. It was mid-afternoon and we'd been the shop's sole customers all day...

I certainly don't go to shop in the hope of social interaction. I find dealing with my fellow humans in the retail environment is not as pleasant as I would wish.

They're opening a Screwfix in town, I guess that will be really pleasant, especially as it's next door to Home Bargains.
 High Street Retail in the UK (anywhere really) - No FM2R
I tend to buy tech online. Pretty much anything else in person, I think.
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