Thursday, January 17, 2013

His Masters Voice. The End?




Sadly it does not really come as much of a surprise that HMV is the latest casualty of the British high street to fall, they missed a few tricks and succumbed to the might of i tunes, Amazon and Netflix and the rise and rise of the slightly out of town supermarkets.  The former giants of the British high street and town centres have failed or are flailing, I ask myself what is the future? A flagship store presence in the capitol city and the rest, well, internet. That is of course assuming they can find buyers and not go under completely.

Is there an opportunity here?

I would love to see a future of local, independent boutiques, places to discover, with internet savvy, so you can continue to buy from them no matter where you live,  florists, restaurants and cafes etc. Reclaiming Britain's town centres and high streets, a renaissance if you like but I doubt they could afford the exorbitant rates unless the local councils take a long term view and put substance over quick return in the way the South Devon town of Totnes has.  So what will we be left with? Big name bar chains, nightclubs, McDonalds and KFC a very gloomy outlook indeed for some of the wonderful town centres of Britain and indeed the world, alas they will all end up looking the same, as I write this I realise it's already happened.


14 comments:

  1. Over here, I call it the "malling" of America.
    Mauling is more like it.
    I absolutely hate that every American city has the same cookie-cutter shops, same inventory, same same same. And, I'm speaking beautiful cities, but once there I have NO reason to shop because everything there is also in Houston. Be careful Europe & Great Britain if McDonald's can make it why not Neiman-Marcus & Barneys? But, of course, they would have to have a storefront the exact same as the ones in the USA and maybe there won't be room for them!!

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  2. It's very true over here in the states.
    We are depressingly homogenized.

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  3. Thank the gods Long Island has, for the most part, retained its historical towns! Sure, we have malls - but not very many large ones. The strip stores are mostly on main roads/highways. But our shore towns - towns like Port Jefferson, Northport, Centerport, Patchogue, and those close by (Sayville, Bellport) and on out to Southampton and Montauk Point have really made the effort to stay historic. Small original buildings, all with nice homey shops in, yarn stores, candy shoppes, cafes, hardware stores, diners, privately owned book stores, and pubs. LOVE IT!

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  4. It's true here in Canada as well. American big-box stores are rapidly moving in (Target coming soon, Walmart and countless others already here). We are raising a whole generation of people who will never shop anywhere but malls and big-box stores.
    Here in Toronto there has been a huge high-rise condo boom over the past few years, resulting in a beautiful lake you have hardly any access to, and certainly no sight-line too, and a sky full of concrete and glass. Even our famous CN Tower can only be seen from limited angles now; it's surrounded.
    Sad.........

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  5. I have to keep reading blogs like yours to reassure myself I'm not the only one in the world who worships the almighty shopping mall....

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  6. ....Yikes! I meant "does NOT worship" !!!!

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  7. I agree with you it is very sad to see small independent shops go to the wall. In our small village several shops have had to close due to greedy landlords and high rates. We are left with lots of coffee shops and Estate agents.

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  8. Hello:
    Yet another sign of the changing and uncertain times in which we live. Increasingly, as you suggest here, the British High Street is to be reduced to a very few chain stores, who are able to afford the huge rents and rates, and a depressing number of charity shops.

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  9. Not to mention the parking charges,just before Christmas one of our small country towns hiked up the charges,this and business rates are killing off our rural towns,village shops have already disappeared.Ida

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  10. It's sad but true. It's happening all over the world, and will continue unless we all commit to supporting our local stores. And require our governments to support them too!

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  11. And what do they do with the money raked in from exorbitant rates?

    I dropped in on my lawyer before leaving for Europe...she had a workman taking down her sign as the council had decided to impose a tax of 600 dollars for having a sign outside the premises...this to apply to all commercial premises, nomatter how small...

    The council has grandiose schemes to tear down the old church...heart of the town...to build a glass 'leisure centre'. For what? People here enjoy themselves with horse parades and bull running...neither suited to a glass structure.
    It has marked out parking spaces and levied fines for non payment of parking permits...less trade in town.

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  12. You beat me to it - I was going to do a similar blog.

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  13. When I saw that KFC was the place to go on a Saturday night in Chengdu, China six, seven years ago I knew...

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  14. In my small town we have a KFC, Starbucks & McDonalds!! Apart from a couple of restaurants & fast food joints, the rest of the commerical premises are occupied by charity shops - we have loads. The baker, greengrocer & fishmonger have long gone - killed off by the supermarkets & probably the high rates. It is quite depressing. I too am sorry about the demise of HMV from our high streets. Mind you I cannot say the same about Blockbuster which was also reported as going out of business. I will be glad to see them gone from UK high streets. Their premises were shabby & depressing, their staff totally disinterested in customer service & films in general & they only stocked american blockbusters for the most part. I remember I gave up on them when I could only hire Jean de Florette, but not Manon des Sources & they couldnt give me reason why not. HMV on the other hand, I will miss.

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