The plight of the High Street.

29 Jan


Remember Xmas? You rushed about like a loony, bought a large amount of stuff, food and presents. You may also have had decorating and other stuff going on in your house. All in all it’s a busy time.

How much money did you spend on petrol and parking fees? A fair bit? Or did you use the bus or train?

At chez moi things were fairly calm. The work on the outside of the house finished early December and the Xmas decorations went up in about 15 minutes. Without being aware of it we did almost all our Xmas shopping on-line. It was just so much easier to sit at the Mac and press keys.

We went to Costco for foodstuff and I went to Hopetoun House Farm Shop for some goodies. It was a cold day but I braved it on the Harley. Our meat and such like came frozen solid via a butchers in Aberdeen or thereabouts.

I feel sure that a lot of you would have done similar.

You’ll also be aware of the drop on profits from a lot of the High Street stores. Debenhams seemed to suffer more than most and blamed it on not having as good an on-line service as their competitors. M&S grew but, as it has been recently, it was their food part that carried the rest.

A few years ago it was HMV who were suffering. A week or so ago I was in HMV and their music part was closing down. It wasn’t a good experience; it felt like I was raking over the bones. I felt for the staff that wouldn’t be employed by HMV for very much longer.

With the demise of HMV there isn’t a lot of choice as far buying music is concerned.  The number of independent record shops has fallen dramatically although a bit of a comeback has been unfolding as vinyl makes a fashionable return.

Now we download music either on a renting basis or we have it in a digital format and it’s the same for movies. Apple, Amazon and others have been making a very nice living out of selling bits rather than atoms.

Then there are books. I used to have a strategy, which I used when buying books. I’d go to a bookshop and peruse the latest offerings usually laid out on tables. I’d look at the covers and then read the synopsis before buying three books. That would keep me going for a while before I repeated it. Now I rarely go into bookshops and if I do I don’t buy any I download them onto my mini ipad.

I don’t think that this change is going to come to an end anytime soon. Amazon delivers food and all sorts now and they are very competitive. How will Debenhams get back on course? Who will be next to miss their profitability targets? What is the secret of the universe? 42!!!!!


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