Jessops gone. Who's next?

Not really surprised

101 to 120 of 127 messages
18/01/2013 at 09:00
Rickster wrote (see)

Those of you that illegally downloaded music and film are responsible for HMVs demise. Now go stand in the corner and think about what you've done you naughty boys and girls. 

What about the people that legally download them? Much like music the movie industry needs to get ready for that that digital downloads are the future of the medium.

18/01/2013 at 09:28
Dude, if the likes of HMV, Virgin/Zavvi and Tower were so crap why were they able to wipe out virtually all the independants. I genuinely mourn the loss of Andy's Records (East Anglia) and Selectadisc (Nottingham). With regard to the multiplexes my nearest is a 50 mile round trip and their ambience is wonderfully summed up by Mark Kermode in his book "The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex".

Not withstanding that cheap shot at the multiplexes I'm sure that the viewing experience is superior to even the most expensive home cinema set up, but a trip to the cinema is nowadays an expensive outing and the range of movies on offer is very mainsteam (obviously). Most larger cities probably still have a small independent cinema which I'm sure you agree is an encouraging sign.

I live on the high street of a small, definately non bijou, small market town. We have a Tesco (thriving), a Budgens (Moribund) and only three national chains (Boots, QD and The Factory Shop). Set against this we have three betting shops, nine takaways, four charity shops and eight hairdressers and a handfull of empty shops (two of which have been converted back to domestic dwellings)...oh and two tattoo parlours and three second hand/factory surplus shops.

On the more positive side we have three ethnic restaurants (so add an extra three to the takeaway total!), two butchers (used to be three), a bakers (used to be two), no Fruit and Veg Shop (used to be three), a health food shop, two well established family business (hardware and horticultural), a Polish Slep and two or three small independant shops (cheap clothing and giftwares). On the pub front the town now has four, two of which are for sale. that represents a loss of five over the last six years.

I'd guess that this is pretty typical - though there are many towns further north which are considerably more distressed than us.
Edited: 18/01/2013 at 09:33
18/01/2013 at 10:35

Tom - I can't speak for your area but can count at least a dozen independent music stores within walking distance from me. I make an effort to frequent them because they are a pleasure to visit.

 

18/01/2013 at 10:36

it isn't just the product, or even the price necessarily. it's the experience.

18/01/2013 at 10:39

@Tom. - they managed to wipe-out the independents long before downloading because commonplace.

The main problem with watching a film at the cinema is other people.  You'll never see a film where there isn't at least one arsehole who's chatting or playing with their phone.

I live in Cheltenham.  The usual response to that is, "Ooh, Cheltenham's nice."  Yes, it is.  But High Street is crap, especially when you're at either end of it.  The Promenade is nice (Fat Face, White Stuff, Jaeger, and so on), but the main drag isn't.  There's a lot of development work going on in the centre at the moment, with massive H&M and River Island stores planned, but there are still 70 empty units, some of which are huge.

Shopping in the town centre just isn't pleasant at the moment because the building work and ridiculous road design means that shoppers are crammed on to pavements that are too narrow at busy times. Factor in an absurd amount of "street furniture" (including new phoneboxes - WTF!) and shopping is a game of British Bulldogs.  I hate it.  And I've recently found out that if I shop at a huge number of online stores I can get Virgin Atlantic Airmiles for free!

18/01/2013 at 10:50

@the dude abides - a dozen independent music stores?  What formats are they selling?

18/01/2013 at 11:08
Just walked up town and spotted three more hairdressers - revised total now 11, two more fish and chip shops - revised total, including restaurants now 13, another closed down pub - revised total now five. On the positive side we also have two coffee shops an independent computer services shop and a branch of Boyes - revised chains total in town 4....oh and a washing machine spares shop.

Dude - I envy you your indie record shops, that's something I really miss. IAlthough I'm pretty computer literate I've never downloaded a single track of music ever, much prefering the substance of a CD, even though they can't match the magic of vinyl. On the other hand I do rent and stream from Lovefilm, but I usually buy DVDs of films that I want to see again - subject to price. (I'm currently trying to get hold of an affordable copy of the movie "Exam")
18/01/2013 at 11:26
Intermanaut wrote (see)

@the dude abides - a dozen independent music stores?  What formats are they selling?

I don't know where Dude lives, but here in Glasgow there are still a good few independent music shops about. Not as many as there was years ago, but still a good few. The big music retailers never impacted them up here.

The independents always tend to be more specialist in one genre, be that for dance, blues, metal, indie etc.

Edited: 18/01/2013 at 11:26
22/01/2013 at 11:51

Been announced that East Mids CoOp are shutting 9 department stores - not national news but in the relevant towns and cities quite a big deal.    For me it's one of the big shops in town that has been there as long as I've known - and one of the shops that isn't just another downmarket retail outlet or aimed at teens.  

I know people say it's just change and you can't stand it its way but I don't think city centres should just be allowed to die - there are things that could be done if the right policy changes were made.   

seren nos yn canu    pirate
22/01/2013 at 11:57

that is a surprise popsider

22/01/2013 at 13:27

I know one of the board members (think it's a voluntary role - she's retired) and she says they've been struggling for quite a while.   The one in Derby is a huge purpose built art deco department store though - nobody else is likely to move in there - the old Debenhams has been pretty much empty since 2007 when they opened a big Westfield and they moved there.   

22/01/2013 at 13:29

popsider - what can be done, and what are the right policies?

22/01/2013 at 13:33

Sounds like the Co-op in Clydebank. Huge old big building at what is now the bottom of the shopping centre. Three stories high and these days they only occupy the bottom floor with the other two floors empty. It's only a matter of time before that store and the handful of awful run-down grocery stores they have dotted about the area end up closing.

Even when I was a kid the store looked dated and it's not got any better since.

22/01/2013 at 14:00

Well it seems to me that if we want to keep traditional city centres we need to be making it more financially attractive in terms of rent and rates than out of town shopping.    We need to have parking at cost at worst - not see it as a way of funding other council services. We need to have powers to look at the mix of ownership of retail premises and what retail premises are built so we don't have a monopoly in a given town - and no more giant shopping centres which suck the life out of the rest of the town or city.  

Some of this might mean we have to restrict the freedom of capital to do whatever it wants but if we want to shape the society we live in that is what we have to do.   

Of course there is an argument that the traditional city centre as a place where people work, shop and spend leisure time is outdated and that trying to cling onto them is purely out of nostalgia.   

22/01/2013 at 14:03

How does the word Deb enhams become a link to a Deb enhams advert !    When did that happen ?       

22/01/2013 at 14:18

I just think it's as much that shopping habits have changed and as a retailer you either adapt or die. That Co-Op I mentioned is at the foot of a shopping centre with free parking in slap bang in the middle of the town. It just hasn't been offering what modern consumers want for a long time. Funnily enough the only reason it's still afloat is being propped up by other retailer in the shopping centre that pay them rent on buildings they own. It's now struggling as many of them shut down and no other retailers will pay their high prices resulting in empty retail spaces littered through the shopping centre.

You are going to struggle to fight digital distribution. There will be some form of market for physical media in terms of film, music and books but it will be ever decreasing. You also have to combat the convenience of online shopping. Add to basket and get it delivered to your home/work.

You also have to combat supermarkets. The supermarket originally hit traditional food stores like the green grocers, fishmonger, butcher etc, but now they are hitting electrical and media retailers. You're average Joe can buy the latest films and chart music in them. They can also but a television, a vacuum cleaner, a computer and all manner of other items that once required a specialist retailer.

The high street will depend of clothing stores. Even the most ardent online shoppers still tend to want to try something on before buying, aided by clothing sizes never quite being consistent. In more affluent areas there is demand for quality butchers, greengrocers, deli's, fishmongers etc. Stores that offer a high quality of product than the supermarket but with a premium price. Other than that you'll be looking at food outlets and stores that can specialise in something to offer value beyond the stock they carry.

I think many a town centre is pretty much done for in terms of retail though. I think the impact on retail is both money being tight for many these days, but also the change in consumer buying habits.

If anything what may save town centres is making them places where people live once again, rather than just shop or work. There are a couple of areas of Glasgow city centre that have had new life put back in them due to an increase in housing rather than retail development.

22/01/2013 at 14:41
popsider wrote (see)

How does the word Deb enhams become a link to a Deb enhams advert !    When did that happen ?       

Ages ago. Install AdBlock for Chrome and it all goes away.

Town centres are dying.  A couple of quid on a parking ticket is neither here nor there for most people - given the price of building and maintaining a car park that may well be "at cost".  It seems to me to be an ideal way to fund other council services, though, because it's an optional charge.  I'd prefer parking charges that increased income or council tax.

Town centres are owned in an almost-monopolistic way because they're owned by companies like Aviva, NFU, and so on, to provide investment for pensions, funds, etc.  The problem isn't controlling what retail premises are built, but how to fill those that are already there.  Cheltenham, jewel of the Costwolds, has over 70 empty town-centre shop units, yet H&M and River Island are having a new building put up.  That's been on-going for many months now (demolition of existing buildings smack in the centre) and won't complete until July.

I don't think town centres are helped by charity collectors (especially those idiotic student-types who do little more than harrass passers-by), crap buskers (I have Cheltenham's Depressing Trumpeter in mind), Big Issue sellers, street traders, street furniture...

I do all I can to avoid shopping in town, and until a visit to a town centre is as enjoyable as shopping from my sofa, that's not going to change.

Still, I'm off to Newport "city" centre this weekend.  Fortunately it's for a meeting, but I might venture in to Commercial Street. Last time I was there I thought that the best way to improve it was to let the RAF use it for bombing practice.  I doubt much has changed there.

How would I improve town centres?  I'd need a lot of money.  Enough to buy up properties so that I could knock them down, clear the sites, and put more green spaces in, moving the retail units to a more compact area inside the green spaces.  Most town centres feel cluttered and oppressive, and very few appear to have tidy, comfortable space for people to just sit and watch the world go by.

Cheerful Dave    pirate
22/01/2013 at 15:50

Evans have refused to accept my gift vouchers, so maybe they're next?

22/01/2013 at 15:51
Evans ! You mean the fat women's shop ?
22/01/2013 at 15:56

They have fat women's shops?

I'll have one.

Do they cost a lot to feed?

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