Coming to a high street near you ……

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It all started with Woolworths … (but really if your USP is pick and mix then you really aren’t cut out for business) and gradually progressed further up and down the high street.  This past month we have heard about the demise of high street staples … Jane Norman, Carpet Right, TJ Hughes and Thorntons and the Daily Mail list a whole host of others (and includes a short breakdown).

Why are these High Street ‘giants‘ crumbling in the face of this economic downturn??
Are high street rent rates really too high??
Does the government need to reconsider 20% VAT??
Have our consumer habits changed that much??
Are we shopping more and more online than previous??

What do you think??
My answer is simple ….


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  1. Rachel
    July 7, 2011 / 8:59 am

    I read the other day that Tesco are now getting into Home Improvements, and will be selling windows!

  2. July 7, 2011 / 9:16 am

    I think it’s all of the above Jo – too many out of town shopping centres taking people away from the high street, greedy landlords, excessive business rates and the fact that everyone wants products at the cheapest possible price. Trouble is, they then start complaining when their high streets become deserted and tatty!

  3. July 7, 2011 / 9:45 am

    Completely agree with ‘Tesco’ being a large part of the demise of these ‘smaller’ corporations… I have been looking this week at how we could use them less & perhaps order from Riverford & make all our meals from that, then just get ‘extras’ from Tesco/Asda etc. But to be honest, it is purely so we can save money. However, I for one will not miss Jane Norman, Carpet Right or TJ Hughes… Now Thorntons, that I may miss!

  4. July 7, 2011 / 9:48 am

    I never understood why Thorntons sold their brand to the supermarkets? You can buy their chocolates in Tesco, Sainsburys, Wilkinson and Asda to name but a few (and in most cases cheaper than their own stores) so its really no wonder their own stores are failing.
    If you have a brand, hold on to it, don’t sell out!

  5. Kerri
    July 7, 2011 / 1:18 pm

    I agree with your thoughts on Tescos, we have a massive one here in our town. I make it my personal mission to ONLY go into Tescos if other shops in the high street dont sell what I am looking for – this is a real bet hate to me. There are businesses which have been running for decades which are closing as they are being so undercut by Tescos……its not just the products which are better (such as fresh fruit and meat) but its the heart of the town and the history which goes with it. I love chatting to our butcher or the greengrocers….its a level of customer service you dont get in the BIG ones!
    As Ian says, we all complain when our high streets are looking sad and empty but there are small things we can all do – buy local when you can

    • Joanne
      July 8, 2011 / 8:51 am

      Thanks everyone.
      I will be coming back to this again.
      So please do keep the comments coming!

  6. July 8, 2011 / 8:53 am

    All of the above, plus the property boom-and-bust that’s left landlords up to their eyeballs in debt, so they put the rents up and the small shops go out of business.

  7. NappyBliss
    July 8, 2011 / 9:52 pm

    I will not shop at Tescos. They have far reaching implications on so many parts of our lives. They squeeze the farmers so hard on margin, many of them are having to make awful choices about things like animal welfare. Then Tescos tell us it is our choice that leads their policy. Umm I don’t think so – to make a choice I have to be given options – which Tescos don’t give me unless I want to pay through the nose.
    Much prefer to shop local

    • Joanne
      July 9, 2011 / 9:42 am

      Totally agree you aren’t given much choice and clever advertising and BOGOFF’s hook consumers in every time.

  8. NappyBliss
    July 8, 2011 / 9:53 pm

    PS lots of Thornton shop were franchises

  9. July 13, 2011 / 8:52 pm

    We make a point of NOT shopping at Tesco, apart from petrol. And manage it pretty well.
    It frustrates me as a business owner offering a specialist service & products that we’re often ‘used’ for information gathering. Then people say “thanks” when they mean, “I’m off to find a cheaper product now”. They forget it costs me to offer that service in the first place!
    People have been surprised that the shape of our business is changing. The shop is going so we can concentrate on internet & home fittings. What people fail to realise is that they haven’t shopped with us regularly over the last 3 years, just used our FREE advice!….not sure how we educate people though?

  10. July 15, 2011 / 9:03 pm

    I have a little bit of an alternative view to this – from what I see of shoppers in general, I think that price is only one element that could be sending them to Tesco. Let’s face it – when you go out to shop, a lot of people shop where they also get a specific kind of experience. If you have the choice of going to a high street store where the sales staff barely acknowledge you, or to Tesco where you expect little service, but get a serviceable price, it’s no wonder. Have you looked at who went from the high street, and who will still probably go? Badly laid out stores that don’t consider the mums with buggies or being able to find what you want, independent stores that really don’t seem to have a clue about what customers actually want to buy. I really think that if those big high street stores as well as the little independents really refocussed on what today’s customer wants, and made an effort to be worth visiting, I think it could be turned around. Having said that, th past difficult times have also exposed a lot of businesses that simply weren’t being well run. I don’t in any way intend to diminish the difficulties that a lot of well run businesses have faced through no fault of their own – but amongst those are some that just weren’t doing well enough to begin with. I’m sad about Thortons though – they have a lot of positives.

    • Joanne
      July 20, 2011 / 9:28 pm

      Very true

  11. July 18, 2011 / 12:52 pm

    Love Tesco for the fact I can buy most things under one roof. However I like nothing more than walking down a street where there are lots of boutiques, family run shops that offer something a little bit different. I live in a ‘village’ and use my small high street a lot – I spend more time there than big supermarkets.