Author Topic: Is This The End Of Retail?  (Read 8096 times)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2018, 11:18:46 am »
I think there are multiple factors to blame.  One is the council / intu charging large amounts for parking.  i have noticed that towns with free or nearly free parking are still alive and have open shops.

I look at it the other way round - free parking on out-of-town sites is the problem. Parking should not be free - in fact, it isn't free, it's just that the costs are absorbed elsewhere, such that people who don't use cars end up paying for it as well. Land used for car parking space should be taxed heavily, and charged for at point of use.

People need to be made more aware of the true costs involved in their decisions, especially when those decisions involve car use.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2018, 11:44:25 am »
High street banks have changed use over the past 30 years. They became bar-restaurants of one type or another. The same has happened to churches. Big department stores are harder to transform, so often stand empty.

Suburban high streets are now full of hairdressers, vape shops, takeaways and East European supermarkets. Subsidiary urban high streets are like that, but with more student targeted stuff, often Chinese.

The principal high street still functions as an area for female bonding through shopping. Teenagers also congregate there, with friction between 'Townies' and suburbanites. There are also lots of 'Homeless', occupying the vacant shop doorways.

My most recent retail foray was to pop into Sports Direct for a paid of size 14 trainers. I'd gone in to register my Father's death at the records office, and the need to get parked up in time gave me 15 minutes to play with.

On Friday we walked into town for a cheap ethnic meal and a drink in a traditional pub. On Saturday I went to a choir concert, slightly marred by the 'banging tunes' from a bar opposite the church. We live in a quiet rural enclave, so the centre of town is for seeing lots of people, and topping up my aversion to urban life.

As I'm a 59 year-old white bloke, who isn't a homeless alcoholic. I don't fit into any of the natural user groups for the high street. My retail preferences are builders merchants, wood yards, and tool suppliers.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2018, 12:03:12 pm »
High streets have lost their appeal to me by consisting almost entirely of national chain stores selling the same stuff (at the same national prices) I don't need or desire; fashion shops are strongly represented. Similarly restaurants are the same boring national chains where the menu items are costed to the last penny, not designed to excite the palate.

Smaller towns with more independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are much more interesting.

Don't know what the answer is. Possibly lower business rates for independents?

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2018, 12:09:45 pm »
I think there are multiple factors to blame.  One is the council / intu charging large amounts for parking.  i have noticed that towns with free or nearly free parking are still alive and have open shops.

I look at it the other way round - free parking on out-of-town sites is the problem. Parking should not be free - in fact, it isn't free, it's just that the costs are absorbed elsewhere, such that people who don't use cars end up paying for it as well. Land used for car parking space should be taxed heavily, and charged for at point of use.

People need to be made more aware of the true costs involved in their decisions, especially when those decisions involve car use.

This, really.

We effectively subsidise (and all pay for) out-of-town shopping. Many of the businesses situation in such locations earned significant tax breaks from local and national government for locating there in the first place (benefits not granted to the local high street). Plus there's in the costs of maintaining the roads, vehicles, fuel etc. then indirect effects like dealing with air pollution. All these disappear in the mix, but they're no less real. Those retail parks aren't really cheap, they just seem that way because the real cost is borne by society as a whole. Of course, it all conspires to make us more reliant on our cars, and none of it is really to our benefit.
!nataS pihsroW

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2018, 12:28:42 pm »
High streets have lost their appeal to me by consisting almost entirely of national chain stores selling the same stuff (at the same national prices) I don't need or desire; fashion shops are strongly represented. Similarly restaurants are the same boring national chains where the menu items are costed to the last penny, not designed to excite the palate.

Smaller towns with more independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are much more interesting.

Don't know what the answer is. Possibly lower business rates for independents?

Currently there are lower business rates for small businesses. That may change. If it does, it will be absolutely devastating.

Other points:

(some) High Streets are homogenous because of the cost of occupancy. Only the big national can afford the rent and rates. (Some time ago now) I remember calculating that occupancy of a shop in the UK was 10 times the equivalent of the same in South Africa. If rents and rates are lower you get better variety and improved shop fitting and staffing - retailers can spend money on other things. However we like high property prices individually...

Business Rates are being used to keep the voters happy. They allow for lower personal Council Tax rates. We like that...

Retailers are in an unequal battle with internet businesses and internationals. Internationals don't pay appropriate taxes. Neither do internet businesses (they get a low rate per sq foot on a warehouse park). However we like being able to order 97 different brake blocks...

Towns are in an unequal battle with out of town locations that provide free parking. There should be charges per out of town space. We like free parking...

This is about employment, about recognising that well over 20% of people do not have access to a car, about community and being a social human rather than a selfish one.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

cygnet

  • I'm part of the association
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2018, 12:30:20 pm »
NB It's Poundworld that are in administration, not Poundland.
I Said, I've Got A Big Stick

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2018, 12:36:53 pm »
Out of town shopping is in the middle of town locally. There are plenty of brownfield sites from industrial premises, so the majors have built in the town. The council owns the big car park next to Tesco, which is free, and not time-limited.

South Ribble has the infrastructure and space to function as a modern settlement. Preston is constrained by its geography and history. 'Out of Town' usually means satellite towns, and urbanites are snobbish about them.

We were going to get a massive IKEA next to B&Q, close to the motorway. Some say that a legal challenge from Chorley Borough has put paid that. There's talk of a hospital there now. Hospitals are another facility that have moved out of town centres as demand for parking has become a major concern.

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2018, 01:35:47 pm »
NB It's Poundworld that are in administration, not Poundland.

Mea maxima culpa . . .

Posts edited.
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2018, 06:59:25 pm »
I am prepared to give a certain amount of leeway to physical shops in not having the exact variant of product I'm after.
e.g. cycle products. Years ago I wanted a new derailleur - went into JE James, not the smallest most independent cycle shop in the world. Asked for a 10 speed, low normal, short cage, shimano, MTB, rear mech.
No.
OK, forget low normal. Have you got any 10 speed, short cage, shimano mechs?
No, sorry.
OK, have you got any 10 speed, shimano mechs?
Doesn't look like it.
Have you got any shimano mechs at all?
er... no.

About 6 years ago, probably even worse now.
I'd personally be prepared to go to an actual physical shop if they had a reasonable range - after all, sometimes with amazon you get too much choice. But the range of products in physical shops diminishes to just the ones with the most margin purely because of the rise in online shops, so it's not just because online is more convenient. It's just not possible any more.
Often the internet sheds don't have it in stock either and don't tell you at the point of sale (where's the LHT frame I ordered a week ago, Spa?).  They are pretty pointless as retailers by then; they are merely a tool for ordering it from the supplier, loading the price by a large percentage, and sending it to you at your cost.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2018, 08:49:06 pm »
I was talking to a former Ribble employee on a walk yesterday. He remembers the MD scanning the foreign exchange news to determine the best moment to buy. That's what the internet retailers do for you, as well as sourcing the product.

Ribble were bought out, and since then they've shed staff, and replaced them with workers who are happy with minimum wage.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2018, 11:06:22 pm »
A wage reduction driven by customers whose prime driver has become price.

Are you sure these workers are happy with the minimum wage?
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #36 on: June 11, 2018, 11:10:30 pm »

Often the internet sheds don't have it in stock either and don't tell you at the point of sale (where's the LHT frame I ordered a week ago, Spa?).  They are pretty pointless as retailers by then; they are merely a tool for ordering it from the supplier, loading the price by a large percentage, and sending it to you at your cost.
The only thing that is annoyingly unavailable from reliable retailers is schwalbe tubeless tyres, it's always a guessing game which "in stock" label is least likely to be a lie ...
This is destiny, it's fate, it's the matrix working in my favour.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #37 on: June 11, 2018, 11:55:06 pm »
A wage reduction driven by customers whose prime driver has become price.

Are you sure these workers are happy with the minimum wage?

Not as happy as they were before Brexit pushed the value of the £ down relative to their native currencies.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2018, 01:12:26 am »
Very noticeable that three local independent LBSes have disappeared in recent years.

Only boutiques selling high end kit with personal support/maint service seem to be surviving.

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2018, 05:32:41 am »
Much is made of the impact of the internet and retail shopping. Whilst there is no doubt that the impact is huge, given fierce on line price competition and the convenience of home delivery, other factors are also at work, such as the availablity and cost of parking, the cost of fuel, access restrictions via traffic jams,  commercial rates, rent review increases et al, all of which have been cash cows for years but which have now become very significant factors in deciding whether customers can be arsed or not and whether or not a shopping visit is cost effective.
I have been made aware recently of the level of charges levied by bodies such as Just Eat and Interflora which, if accurate,  are breathtaking given the margins retail outlet operations are often working on!
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2018, 06:14:28 am »
Not long ago I remember being at a presentation where two facts were stated.

The market share of discount supermarkets hadn’t changed much over several decades. Aldi and Lidl look to have had an effect, but in the marketplace they replaced Macfisheries and other discount supermarkets.

The market share of non bricks and mortar hasn’t changed much over decades, internet shopping looks like it has taken a huge chunk of the consumer spend, but in the market place it has replaced Littlewoods, Grattan, Freeman’s and others.

Now that may be different now, but it means that the marketplace probably hasn’t changed as much as everyone thinks.

I think the biggest factors are out of town shopping, punitive occupancy costs and the obsession with private transport.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - a Pacific bike ride
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2018, 08:20:14 am »
A wage reduction driven by customers whose prime driver has become price.

Are you sure these workers are happy with the minimum wage?

Not as happy as they were before Brexit pushed the value of the £ down relative to their native currencies.

I had a load of work done on the house recently and I really wish the Poles hadn't gone home  >:(

Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2018, 09:16:04 am »
The advantage of good, knowledgeable sales people has also been further eroded by the Internet. Why risk trusting a salesperson when you can have hundreds of reviews online from people who've actually bought and used the product?
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world."

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2018, 09:17:08 am »
Very noticeable that three local independent LBSes have disappeared in recent years.

Only boutiques selling high end kit with personal support/maint service seem to be surviving.

It's easy (and safer) to sell a few high margin items than to rely on selling lots of low margin items. For the latter you're heavily dependent on external factors like small falls in customers, fluctuations in exchange rate, and any significant rise in costs will knock you out. And you can't keep that much in stock because that either requires money up-front or expensive credit insurance. Oh, and when people find out you don't have item x in stock, they'll wander off and buy it on the internet rather than wait for a few days.

I'm weird, admittedly, but I think we should just buy less and spend less time in our cars doing it. I honestly can't think of any worse thing to do on a Saturday afternoon than hang around a shop. Personally, I'd be happy to see more cafes, eateries and pubs on the high street. Of course, these suffer from the same problems as the high street.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #44 on: June 12, 2018, 01:30:32 pm »
The advantage of good, knowledgeable sales people has also been further eroded by the Internet. Why risk trusting a salesperson when you can have hundreds of reviews online from people who've actually bought and used the product?

Knowledgeable salespeople were an endangered species well before internet shopping became mainstream.  Why employ a knowledgeable salesperson when a bullshitting oik can shift more stock for a lower wage?
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2018, 03:57:34 pm »
The advantage of good, knowledgeable sales people has also been further eroded by the Internet. Why risk trusting a salesperson when you can have hundreds of reviews online from people who've actually bought and used the product?

As long as those reviews are from real customers and not bots or paid mass reviewers...
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2018, 04:42:14 pm »
<snipped for brevity>
...

Towns are in an unequal battle with out of town locations that provide free parking. There should be charges per out of town space. We like free parking...

This is about employment, about recognising that well over 20% of people do not have access to a car, about community and being a social human rather than a selfish one.

that's an interesting stat J. Do you have any breakdown e.g. how many of those are in massive highrise flats, how many urban-vs-rural etc?

[In this discussion I always think of friends who have lost their driving licences due to medical conditions - I assume that way less than 20% are in a similar situation, but we should still try to consider them.]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2018, 04:50:30 pm »
The advantage of good, knowledgeable sales people has also been further eroded by the Internet. Why risk trusting a salesperson when you can have hundreds of reviews online from people who've actually bought and used the product?

The problem with online reviews is you often have to read hundreds of them before you find one that is genuinely informative.

Even among a community of generally knowledgeable people, it can sometimes be hard to glean the wheat from the chaff - take the recent discussion here on the benefits vs disadvantages of Di2, for example.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2018, 04:58:59 pm »
Some customers like the sound of their online voices and post unfavourable views for their own and others' amusement.

TripAdvisor certainly breeds these.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Is This The End Of Retail?
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2018, 05:02:42 pm »
TripAdvisor certainly breeds these.

Don't get me started on TripAdvisor...