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Demise of the city centre

RTU'd

War Hero
Boots are doing OK, wife works for them. It is the drugs side that keeps them afloat.
Yup, with out the secondary business boots get from the drugs side they would be in the poo.
Local one I think make you wait 20 minutes even if ready so you buy something else!

Now WHSmiths are in deep poor since selling off the newspaper delivery business.
High rate at the airports which are not getting the influx of punters now.
 
There's a very good case for pubs becoming hubs - throw in the post office counter, parcel pick-up and so on, especially in rural areas.
Our village pub has been doing "pub desks" for home workers: £10 for 3 hours of table space, tea and coffee and a sandwich, but it only works now that the new landlord has put in fibre broadband. That has been the key. They have also been doing pre-booked drive-through take away food from their reduced restaurant menu. They are doing their best to survive, despite Drakeford's Methodist meddling.

The pub (the Longs Arms) in Aston Clinton Steeple Ashton had a Post Office counter in the bar, so you could cash your Giro and hand it straight to the barmaid! That was 20 years ago when I used to have tasking at Keevil airfield.

Edited to correct village name and name of pub.
 
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Yup, with out the secondary business boots get from the drugs side they would be in the poo.
Local one I think make you wait 20 minutes even if ready so you buy something else!...........

I noticed some time ago Boots are a bit thin on staff - I guessed it was deliberate, but more in the "sod the customer" way than than hoping you'll buy more.
 
I noticed some time ago Boots are a bit thin on staff - I guessed it was deliberate, but more in the "sod the customer" way than than hoping you'll buy more.
Boots have cut the number of staff and are forever going through re-structuring their management. Area managers rarely last a year or so, and Store managers come and go. The biggest issue Boots has is retention of pharmacists and rely heavily on locums
 
The thing is, this year has changed everything, how we work, how we shop and how we consume media. Some will return to old normality but the majority will look at what they are doing and seeing it is easier. This will lead to villages and small towns getting a rise in footfall, where as big cities will see a massive drop. An online presence where it was a nice to have is now a necessity.

Is the day of the big chain over, yes I think it is, the internet is a great leveller and customers don't care if you have a massive warehouse or a garage as long as you can deliver you will get the business, towns will see a rise in small independents that trade bricks and mortar, and online. Office space is no longer a premium as people will use meeting spaces for physical meetings. This is where pubs with large function rooms could make more money offering an office for a day, chuck in food and they will be OK.

The towns and cities as we know them have changed, money that was once spent in the city, is now being spent in peoples locality, meaning local businesses and trades people are probably doing better than multi-nationals.
Has it really changed everything or has it just accelerated everything? IMHO the latter; it’s forced people who were reticent to join the digital economy to embrace it. Those who were allegedly left behind have caught up because they’ve been forced to. Pre-Covid, my 86 year old mother had never bought anything online because she was afraid of being ripped off. Now she shops online entirely.

I’m not convinced it is necessarily going to benefit local businesses. Thanks to the big global platforms like Amazon, we can now buy stuff online from anywhere in the world with a good degree of consumer protection. A small business can advertise pretty much anywhere from the owners phone and can easily put a small inventory into a 3PL warehouse where it is advertising. I think we are going to see a “glocal” economy where we buy from local businesses, but not necessarily local to us.

Even those industries that we think of as being largely immune to digitisation are going to change. Take construction; 3-D printing will revolutionise house building over the next 20 years. Big construction has already been heavily digitised; it’s not going away. One-man-band tradies won’t be immune; their logistics will inevitably change.

To me, it’s about embracing the change and seeking new opportunities. Perhaps history will see Covid as a catalyst
 

Blogg

LE
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.
True: M&S was considered an "anchor tenant", a footfall magnet and rents hiked accordingly.

Still a dead weight though....

And let's not forget why there are so many sodding crap Charity Shops*, now moaning that they now "only" get 80% Business Rate Relief


*That would be as in being run "for benefit of a charity" not by a Charity itself. You can guess who benefits the most out of that.
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
The pub in Aston Clinton had a Post Office counter in the bar, so you could cash your Giro and hand it straight to the barmaid! That was 20 years ago when I used to have tasking at Keevil airfield.

I'm a bit confused there because I always thought Aston Clinton was in Bucks near where I had a cottage and Keevil airfield was roughly between Trowbridge and Devizes in wiltshire.
 
True: M&S was considered an "anchor tenant", a footfall magnet and rents hiked accordingly.

Still a dead weight though....

And let's not forget why there are so many sodding crap Charity Shops*, now moaning that they now "only" get 80% Business Rate Relief


*That would be as in being run "for benefit of a charity" not by a Charity itself. You can guess who benefits the most out of that.
I’ve never really “got” the business case for retail, particularly small retail. Goes back to a study case on a management accounting for non accountants course I did in resettlement.

You carry a big overhead in building costs, have to tie up a lot of working capital in stock, need a lot of staff and end up having to sell off a lot of your stock just to get cash through the business.

So you get distorted businesses; at the bottom end, your local Indian corner shop works because they tie in the whole family. The family is the business and the business is the family. At the top end, big stores screw their supply chain by unethical practices like not paying until the stock is sold.

Meanwhile most customers are price driven; its near impossible to differentiate on quality when the big chains can do 80% of your quality for 60% of the price.

Meanwhile landlords, councils etc etc want an inordinate slice of your revenue.
 

Blogg

LE
I’ve never really “got” the business case for retail, particularly small retail. Goes back to a study case on a management accounting for non accountants course I did in resettlement.

You carry a big overhead in building costs, have to tie up a lot of working capital in stock, need a lot of staff and end up having to sell off a lot of your stock just to get cash through the business.

So you get distorted businesses; at the bottom end, your local Indian corner shop works because they tie in the whole family. The family is the business and the business is the family. At the top end, big stores screw their supply chain by unethical practices like not paying until the stock is sold.

Meanwhile most customers are price driven; its near impossible to differentiate on quality when the big chains can do 80% of your quality for 60% of the price.

Meanwhile landlords, councils etc etc want an inordinate slice of your revenue.
Yes: it is not just a bust business model but a dead ecosystem
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I’ve never really “got” the business case for retail, particularly small retail. Goes back to a study case on a management accounting for non accountants course I did in resettlement.

You carry a big overhead in building costs, have to tie up a lot of working capital in stock, need a lot of staff and end up having to sell off a lot of your stock just to get cash through the business.

So you get distorted businesses; at the bottom end, your local Indian corner shop works because they tie in the whole family. The family is the business and the business is the family. At the top end, big stores screw their supply chain by unethical practices like not paying until the stock is sold.

Meanwhile most customers are price driven; its near impossible to differentiate on quality when the big chains can do 80% of your quality for 60% of the price.

Meanwhile landlords, councils etc etc want an inordinate slice of your revenue.
SWMBO, who used to be a buyer for one of the big catalogue companies, adds a few things to that list: as you note, a lot of working capital in stock but also the importance of getting sizing right/nailing your demographics (a proportion of non-white bras for BAME customers, for example); spoilage caused by the rough-and-tumble of having lots of stock out on the racks (M&S did a sports jacket a few years back that was made of a cloth that just pulled - I doubt it sold a single pristine one); and pilferage.

As you say, no sense.
 

syrup

LE
Yup, with out the secondary business boots get from the drugs side they would be in the poo.
Local one I think make you wait 20 minutes even if ready so you buy something else!

Now WHSmiths are in deep poor since selling off the newspaper delivery business.
High rate at the airports which are not getting the influx of punters now.

Problem again for WH Smiths is that they have a great range of magazines and books but so does Tesco.
A book that costs £20 in W.H. Smith is probably going for about £13 in Tesco.
I buy Classic and Vintage Commercials costs about a fiver
On the Back of that they do a Vintage Commercial Magazine that focus on specialist areas of haulage such as Drays or Tippers through the years.
Again in W.H. Smith about a Fiver
Buy them both in Tesco wrapped together for £6.50

We were discussing on here Harrier 809 new book great read just released in hardback
It's already going for £10 in Tesco bet it's still full price n W.H. Smith
 
Thing is the number of magazines that are available in print has crashed this year, photography magazines for example are down to a slack handful with titles like Practical Photography folding.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
Going right back to the basic question, I don't think we need high streets in their present format. Even the most devoted amongst us can't really say why they are wanted.

To my mind, and as mentioned previously, a future high street should have specialist shops, a decent baker, dairy products shop, butcher, delicatessen and somewhere to get a hot drink and snack. All independent. Why do we need anything else?

Even open markets these days offer nothing special so why have them?

In my nearest town the high street is full of closed shops, very cheap cafes, charity shops, three or four banks and beggars. The bus station is a shit-heap and the train station is in the wrong place. Where BHS, M&S and Debenhams used to be could be bulldozed and made into a park.

High streets are no longer busy places where folk wander round browsing and we don't have the weather for a proper cafe society as in the Mediterranean countries.

A hundred yards in any direction from the high street, right out to the edge of town there is a convenience store on every other corner, usually run by Asian families and open from 7 to 11 to supply immediate needs.

It is now down to our local authorities in their ivory towers to provide good housing for families very close to town centres on sites of closed shops, and give up the idea of happy high streets full of joy and bustling, smiling people - we don't need them.
 

Daz

LE
Thing is the number of magazines that are available in print has crashed this year, photography magazines for example are down to a slack handful with titles like Practical Photography folding.
Is that because of the virus, or a combination of social media, Youtube, online tutorials, blogs, and people switching away from cameras to using their mobile phones??

Something similar went on with computer magazines over the last few years as most people these days tend to treat them almost as white goods, coupled with the explosion of non PC web access, Tablets, phones etc.
 
I was out with a journalist for Photo Plus magazine a couple of weeks ago and we were chatting about this, and he was saying that the Lockdowns have been the nail in the coffin. A lot is to do with how people consume media, youngsters would rather use YouTube and the internet for finding out things where those over 45-50 prefer a mixture of the 2, but niche markets such as Black and White or Brand specific magazines seem to be doing OK.
 
I was out with a journalist for Photo Plus magazine a couple of weeks ago and we were chatting about this, and he was saying that the Lockdowns have been the nail in the coffin. A lot is to do with how people consume media, youngsters would rather use YouTube and the internet for finding out things where those over 45-50 prefer a mixture of the 2, but niche markets such as Black and White or Brand specific magazines seem to be doing OK.

They will eventually fall on their arse if they continue in print form, I think its still WH smiths who has the contract to supply newspapers and magazines to all the newsagents all over the country, its fine when small stores are ordering thousands of papers and magazines every week, but once it starts getting to the hundreds and lower. They aren't going to bother.
 
Problem again for WH Smiths is that they have a great range of magazines and books but so does Tesco.
A book that costs £20 in W.H. Smith is probably going for about £13 in Tesco.
I buy Classic and Vintage Commercials costs about a fiver
On the Back of that they do a Vintage Commercial Magazine that focus on specialist areas of haulage such as Drays or Tippers through the years.
Again in W.H. Smith about a Fiver
Buy them both in Tesco wrapped together for £6.50

We were discussing on here Harrier 809 new book great read just released in hardback
It's already going for £10 in Tesco bet it's still full price n W.H. Smith
Can’t imagine there’s much long term future in selling paper stuff out of a shop. It’s another thing headed online that Covid will have accelerated.

I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper, let alone bought one. Magazines? Why buy when you can get the headline content online free. Books? Isn’t that what Amazon is for. Top shelf; a dead hamster.

Twenty years ago, I guess I bought a paper every day, a couple of magazines a week and at least one book a month. I’ve got a month to buy my first of any of those in 2020.
 
Can’t imagine there’s much long term future in selling paper stuff out of a shop. It’s another thing headed online that Covid will have accelerated.

I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper, let alone bought one. Magazines? Why buy when you can get the headline content online free. Books? Isn’t that what Amazon is for. Top shelf; a X hamster.

Twenty years ago, I guess I bought a paper every day, a couple of magazines a week and at least one book a month. I’ve got a month to buy my first of any of those in 2020.
Fixed for you
 

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