Is the High Street in trouble?

The shelf-stackers seem to think so.

This could easily blow out into a much bigger issue – capitalism versus state socialism but for now, let’s focus on the High Street.  It’s not as if it’s not been looked at:

1. Squeezed incomes
2. The shift to online shopping
3. Changing tastes
4. Rising overheads
5. Too many shops
6. Too much debt


What brought this on for me was observing our own approach road to the town, after which is the shopping precinct itself, each having its own issues.

The approach road has shops either boarded up or shuttered down, interspersed with some shops still valiantly trading and perhaps the Beeb should have added [above] that seventh factor – over-zealous and greedy councils.

There are double yellow lines all the way in here and you dare park there at your peril.  A local chippy just folded and there are two reasons people state – the food just wasn’t that good, plus the parking issue.

But it’s the rental the council charges, along with reduced to almost non-existent waste collection which is the killer, let alone the HMRC tax regime on small business.

Plus all the other factors.

10 comments for “Is the High Street in trouble?

  1. Ubermouth
    May 24, 2018 at 06:38

    Out shopping at the local mall the other day,I noticed 5 shops now closed that had not been a month or two earlier.
    Can only mean a coming recession.

  2. The Blocked Dwarf
    May 24, 2018 at 07:01

    I live on our High Street. I count 5 ‘fake’ businesses (charity shops, rainbow alliance karma drop in centres), one butchers (nationally one of the top ones in the yUK), one barbers, 2 hairdressers, one cafe about to change owners for the 4th time in as many years…because 4 is more customers than they see in a day; another cafe that has been there since the war- the first one; two sweet shops, two ‘chic living’ object d’art stuff shops, a dentist, a computer shop, an insurance guy, 2 dog groomers, a dry cleaner,an art gallery/picture framer, a flower shop, a vape shop, a music shop,an an antiques shop, the best chippy for miles and , weirdly, a telescope shop.
    Oh and 4 dress shops/boutiques-one with built in travel agent.
    No parking , medieval street plan .
    Not sure what that says about the economy, if it does say anything at all.
    NO empty shops atm- usually there is one at least.
    Nearest Starfucks is a mile walk away, nearest Mickey D 12 minutes drive.

    • The Blocked Dwarf
      May 24, 2018 at 07:11

      Tell a lie, there are two empty shops atm. Also a cycle repair store,a jewellers and an holistic healer.

  3. Mudplugger
    May 24, 2018 at 08:40

    The real issue is about choice – in the past, folk had little choice and had to shop near to where they lived, especially the poorer folk. Now that most have mobility, they have far greater choice and those folk with mobility are the richer ones, so they choose to shop where their mobility is welcomed, and that’s not the modern high street. Thus the high street is left for only the poor, hence the quality shops move out, the poor shops move in, before going bust.

    Add to that the internet, giving yet more choice for the spending on big-ticket items, and the fate of the high street (and even some out-of-town malls too) is sealed. It’s a perfect storm hitting the retailers, but a perfect choice-world for the customers.

    To have a chance, high streets need to become a ‘destination’ for those with spending power, but that requires their mobility to be welcomed – yellow-lines, zealous wardens and expensive parking make sure that will not happen. The cost of rent and business rates is quite irrelevant if you’ve got enough high-spending footfall – current access policies prevent that footfall in the first place, so the high street dies.

    • Bill
      May 24, 2018 at 08:51

      Well Debenhams came to town as ‘the anchor tenant’ in the shopping mall in these parts. They only came as they bought the building they were going in and the land and wrung a no rates deal from the local council, the ‘developer’ of said shopping mall. Still in place today, never paid any rates whilst all around it shops downsize, leave, go bust. The cost of lease/rates is cited every time as the reason why their neighbours downsize/go.

    • Twisted Root
      May 24, 2018 at 17:18

      Destination shopping high street is the only long term hope and even then only for a very limited number.

      Our high street would be an ideal candidate for someone with drive and vision. So, the local council come up with highly imaginative schemes to drive shoppers away at every turn.

  4. Bill
    May 24, 2018 at 08:46

    Is the pope a catholic?
    The ‘high street’ in this neck of the woods is one third empty, two thirds ‘occupied’, that is the most fitting description. Occupied they may be but most are not shops selling goods.
    The local market follows the same pattern. Stalls come and go with great frequency in that 1970’s monstrosity of a building so it is not easy to get a handle on the numbers.
    Most shops and all stalls are rented or leased and the payment for rental/lease is at the ‘head of the queue’ handed over long before the ‘profit’ puts an appearance in.

    Then again we have ‘town centre managers’ and a ‘business improvement district’ crew telling us all is rosy, they must be either blind or stupid (or both) as ones own eyes and legs reveal the truth.

  5. dearieme
    May 24, 2018 at 11:25

    One of our local town markets thrived while it was being run by an enthusiastic and energetic girl. The council was jealous and decided to stop paying her and bring the management in-house. That meant it was run by a slug who mainly liked to stand around puffing a fag. Result: decline of market.

  6. dearieme
    May 24, 2018 at 11:30

    I suppose a big real-estate shopping business (Walmart?) should fund hackers to bugger up O/L payment systems. (I mean to bugger it up better than Paypal does.)

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