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Demise of the city centre

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
That was kind of my point. Successful businessman read the tea leaves and get out while they can. If anything, that was a decade of more ago for Arcadia.

He could have wound down the retail side and built an e-commerce business. He could have embraced ethical fashion. He could have rebranded moribund names like Burton and Dorothy Perkins. He could have founded something new.

Instead he took a big early pay check when he bought already dead brands and sweated them way after they had any intrinsic value. An East End barrow boy done good.

It’s worth commenting that in the same period that Green sweated Arcadia, others have built global, aspirational brands. Meanwhile there are no British retail brands with an international presence.
Spot on.
 

Teeblerone

War Hero
Even before the Portas save the High st Bo##cks. There were a growing group of people saying that town and city centers should have footprint reduced and areas developed for residential use.
The best jobs I've had are those where I could walk/bike to work, from 15 to 40 mins each way (replaced with a portion of a longer bus route if it was disgusting weather).
Commuting wasn't so bad when I was younger (motorbike rather than train), but still cost. going out after work was trickier.
Living & working in the same building sounds appealing, but could make fatties of us all & lead to insularity (think bellywheels and the Megacity blocks in 2000AD comic!)
Thus, I think that the idea has a lot of potential, if accessibility & cost are right. The whole rates, property prices & pension funds based on (commercial) property need sorting.
 

Daz

LE
WH Smith largely relocated into airports and train stations......... coffee shops will be decimated by the collapse in revenues and the demise of the high street, plus home based working. Cinemas will take two years to recover as no one is making films. Theatres (other than the west end in London) don’t really pull many people into town centres.

My daughter left the global Marketing team for Jo Malone to work for Top Shop about 18 months ago. She was there 4 weeks before announcing this is a dying brand. She left Top Shop after 3 months.

The demise of the Arcadia group will leave a lot of boarded up windows on the high street, but it won’t just be Arcadia group that goes. Who is going to buy a suit again? I’m not, and I’m sure I’m fairly typical I’d say. Men’s outfitters will go. My mrs comment the other day was the same about wimmins business dress.

some big changes underway. Lots of cash to be made converting shops into housing, but who would want to live in a city centre with no amenities?????

no one has through through the full impact yet - it’s social as well as economic and inward investment is not going to attract new business into City Centres and we will see the return of urban decay which local authorities have been tackling with things like pedestrianisation of the high street.......

For the smaller towns, that's part of the problem, 25+ years ago my towns local high street was booming, pedestrianization was then brought in and decimated the passing trade, a situation that's only grown worse as parking charges were ramped up and up for the nearby carparks.
 

Blogg

LE
Some years ago a man who does retail property told me that all of Green's empire was built on bullshit and needed only one big economic downturn to crumble to dust.

Never embraced ecommerce, only interested in "extracting value" and latterly extracting himself from the mess he had created

He tried to go for M&S (twice) main reason alleged as being wanting to strip out the property assets.

The retail sector has been vastly over invested for decades by dimwits, tiresome shops and outlets all selling the same dross.

Not to be outdone in the fcukwit stakes, some local authorities also have also heavily "invested" in retail and commercial property using cheap Govt. funding, some now faced with masses of newly built space that is wholly unlettable.

Now comes another "correction"


Treasury has been forced to reduce borrowing rate to previous level so more local authorities don't go bust.
 
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giatttt

Old-Salt
No point going into town it's the council that have killed it as much as the internet.
Paisley town council responded to the opening of the Braehead shopping centre by pedestrianising the town centre, closing a few streets to traffic, and generally making it a nightmare to drive around. They did not create any additional off street parking.

Even the charity and pound shops have abandoned the town centre. Knock on effect is that he nightclubs and pubs went into terminal decline as well.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
In my mind, the wrong questions are being asked and the wrong solutions implemented.

I'll take Crawley as an example, as I lived there for a good while. It originally had just a square. Then 20-some years ago they built a mall. There's also an expanding out-of-town retail park. So, it actually now has three centres but the constant question is, "What do we do to rejuvenate the square?"

The answer is not to keep adding more capacity, and not to restrict parking.

Retail has been commoditised - the same cookie-cutter offers from town to town to town. At the moment, you can't even try anything on in clothes shops - which completely removes any advantage over buying online. And in any case, much of the clothing offer in any high street is tat. That counts even for the former quality brands. I can't tell you the last time I went into an M&S or a Clarks. There's nothing in there to draw me any more. Even socks and smalls I buy online from specialist brands.

It's interesting the point made above about Burton. Like M&S, it used to offer a quality product. It doesn't now. Next used to be a very well-presented store with minimal items out on display. Now, it's all straight-out of the box and onto the racks without being ironed - and everything is price-pointed. There's nothing there to attract me.

And so on and so on.

White goods I buy online after reading reviews through my local smaller suppliers. Food? We've been using Hello Fresh without complaint for some years now. But even there there's an interesting point. If the future is going to be more leisure than retail, then having the same offers over and over isn't going to work. I'll happily travel to the next town for a restaurant of note - I do frequently in fact, and @History_Man can attest to the quality of its lasagne(!). But if my town centre is only going to be a sea of Costas and Starbucks and then some of the other chains, why am I going to bother? May as well entertain at home.

And so on and so on.
 
That was kind of my point. Successful businessman read the tea leaves and get out while they can. If anything, that was a decade of more ago for Arcadia.

He could have wound down the retail side and built an e-commerce business. He could have embraced ethical fashion. He could have rebranded moribund names like Burton and Dorothy Perkins. He could have founded something new.

Instead he took a big early pay check when he bought already dead brands and sweated them way after they had any intrinsic value. An East End barrow boy done good.

It’s worth commenting that in the same period that Green sweated Arcadia, others have built global, aspirational brands. Meanwhile there are no British retail brands with an international presence.

My bold
He could have lost all his money as well.
 
Even before the Portas save the High st Bo##cks. There were a growing group of people saying that town and city centers should have footprint reduced and areas developed for residential use.
I strongly suspect many city centres will become suburbs that just happen to be in the middle of an urban area.

For them to have any chance at all, parking restrictions, one way streets, bus gates and the like are all going to have to go. That'll make a dent in local authority income.
 
Debenhams being liquidated. Sports Direct pulled out. These big stores used to be a big pull into City Centres
 
Paisley town council responded to the opening of the Braehead shopping centre by pedestrianising the town centre, closing a few streets to traffic, and generally making it a nightmare to drive around. They did not create any additional off street parking.

Even the charity and pound shops have abandoned the town centre. Knock on effect is that he nightclubs and pubs went into terminal decline as well.
Paisley town centre was moribund long before Braehead was built, but you are correct that the response by Renfrewshire County/District Council was exactly the wrong one and compounded the problem.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Debenhams being liquidated. Sports Direct pulled out. These big stores used to be a big pull into City Centres
I did some PR in the retail sector 15-some years ago. It used to be that a shopping scheme that wasn't underpinned by an M&S was at a serious disadvantage. You couldn't say that now.
 
In my mind, the wrong questions are being asked and the wrong solutions implemented.

I'll take Crawley as an example, as I lived there for a good while. It originally had just a square. Then 20-some years ago they built a mall. There's also an expanding out-of-town retail park. So, it actually now has three centres but the constant question is, "What do we do to rejuvenate the square?"

The answer is not to keep adding more capacity, and not to restrict parking.

Retail has been commoditised - the same cookie-cutter offers from town to town to town. At the moment, you can't even try anything on in clothes shops - which completely removes any advantage over buying online. And in any case, much of the clothing offer in any high street is tat. That counts even for the former quality brands. I can't tell you the last time I went into an M&S or a Clarks. There's nothing in there to draw me any more. Even socks and smalls I buy online from specialist brands.

It's interesting the point made above about Burton. Like M&S, it used to offer a quality product. It doesn't now. Next used to be a very well-presented store with minimal items out on display. Now, it's all straight-out of the box and onto the racks without being ironed - and everything is price-pointed. There's nothing there to attract me.

And so on and so on.

White goods I buy online after reading reviews through my local smaller suppliers. Food? We've been using Hello Fresh without complaint for some years now. But even there there's an interesting point. If the future is going to be more leisure than retail, then having the same offers over and over isn't going to work. I'll happily travel to the next town for a restaurant of note - I do frequently in fact, and @History_Man can attest to the quality of its lasagne(!). But if my town centre is only going to be a sea of Costas and Starbucks and then some of the other chains, why am I going to bother? May as well entertain at home.

And so on and so on.
IMHO the post Covid working environment may be very different. I don’t think working from home will last; the novelty will wear off. Loneliness will become an issue and companies will struggle to integrate new staff. Equally, I don’t think there’s much chance that we’ll see a return to mass commuting.

We’ll see a rise in local co-working spaces. Places where people congregate to work for different companies. A sort of extension of the start up hubs. Around these, you will see rejuvenated communities.

I’ve been running businesses from home for over five years, communicating with clients, customers, suppliers etc through tech. One thing I’ve learnt is that it’s lonely; it brings very different mental health challenges to the office environment. I regularly use shared office space to generate a social element to my work life.

Planners really do need to get their head around new ways of working.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
IMHO the post Covid working environment may be very different. I don’t think working from home will last; the novelty will wear off. Loneliness will become an issue and companies will struggle to integrate new staff. Equally, I don’t think there’s much chance that we’ll see a return to mass commuting.

We’ll see a rise in local co-working spaces. Places where people congregate to work for different companies. A sort of extension of the start up hubs. Around these, you will see rejuvenated communities.

I’ve been running businesses from home for over five years, communicating with clients, customers, suppliers etc through tech. One thing I’ve learnt is that it’s lonely; it brings very different mental health challenges to the office environment. I regularly use shared office space to generate a social element to my work life.

Planners really do need to get their head around new ways of working.
Again, I agree with you.

As an aside, I too have been working from home for about the same period and grasp the same challenges. My solution was the gym - once a day but every day - and to keep on a gym in the next town, so effectively having a commute.
 
Again, I agree with you.

As an aside, I too have been working from home for about the same period and grasp the same challenges. My solution was the gym - once a day but every day - and to keep on a gym in the next town, so effectively having a commute.
The gym has been my lifeline for years. That and an early morning swim and an evening dog walk on the beach.

It would be very easy to see no one between partner and kids heading out before 8 and then coming home at 4. That’s why I make a point of one day a week in the city in a shared space.
 

wheel

LE
I strongly suspect many city centres will become suburbs that just happen to be in the middle of an urban area.

For them to have any chance at all, parking restrictions, one way streets, bus gates and the like are all going to have to go. That'll make a dent in local authority income.
No it wont because they are not generating any now.
 
No it wont because they are not generating any now.
Parking fines and off-street LA car parks are a decent pile of cash for many local authorities these days.
 
I think the WFH trend will only stick in part post a vaccine. While slogging around the M25 or cramming into a train and paying through the nose is not pleasant, the 'need to be seen to be in the office' to bolster ones career is a powerful draw.

So I think you can expect the majority of those given the option to WFH to spend perhaps 2-3 days in the office per week.

However, I do think the shift to e-commerce is going to stick. As noted above several Arcadia businesses were being run using a 1990s business model without much of an online presence. To this end, their demise is just business darwinism. Philip Green notoriously had his emails printed out for him by his secretary; dinosaurs will die in any market without investing in the future.
 
I think the WFH trend will only stick in part post a vaccine. While slogging around the M25 or cramming into a train and paying through the nose is not pleasant, the 'need to be seen to be in the office' to bolster ones career is a powerful draw.

So I think you can expect the majority of those given the option to WFH to spend perhaps 2-3 days in the office per week.

However, I do think the shift to e-commerce is going to stick. As noted above several Arcadia businesses were being run using a 1990s business model without much of an online presence. To this end, their demise is just business darwinism. Philip Green notoriously had his emails printed out for him by his secretary; dinosaurs will die in any market without investing in the future.
I tend to agree, although with down-sized offices, unless "your" team takes over the entire office for, say, one day a week, you are unlikely ever to see all your colleagues together in one place ever again. That's not something I'd miss in the slightest.

Edit: I can see some firms organising "team building" events. The sort of corporate bolleaux where you build a raft out of oil drums with Dave from finance and Tracy from HR. The winners get a cheap trophy. Won't that be fun. TF I'm retiring fully next year.
 
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