Is The High Street Fading Away?

Here, in the UK, we’ve seen some quite large store chains close down entirely or cut back on expansion plans.

The first major casualty I guess was Woolworth. They still had 800 stores in the UK at the time of closure, in 2008. They’d hung on here for quite some time after their demise in the States, but eventually, they couldn’t seem to decide on a direction to go (having long given up being the equivalent of a five and dime store).

It Was The Wonder of Woolies
We’ve had Comet, a major white goods chain go the same way, and various other businesses teeter on the edge of slipping into administration (Chapter 11 in the US).

Tesco, who are the UK’s largest supermarket chain, have closed some stores, and reined in their expansion plans, after posting some profit warnings in the last year or two.

The High Street here has, for some years, been going the same way as Main Street, USA. Edge of town shopping malls has taken away trade, as they’re often easier to get to for car-owners, with free parking.

Now, we’ve got the likes of Amazon here, who offer next day delivery on many items (even SAME day provision in the Greater London area).

Here, unlike most of the US, we have online grocery shopping available. The charge is usually a nominal fee (or free if you spend over a certain amount). People like us, who don’t currently run a car, find this a great boon. It’s easier than driving to the grocery store, spending an hour walking around with a kart, and lining up to pay.

In many areas, the independent mom-and-pop stores have long bitten the dust.

One of the few stores that seem to be expanding here is Costco. There have been two opened within a few miles of us in the last two years. In fact, our nearest one is only five minutes drive away. No car? The store is so close to us that we ride the bus there and do the shopping, and use Uber to get home.

I was inspired to post this after reading my good friend, Chuck Boyd’s blog on a local supermarket closure in Charleston, SC.

Read his post here


What do YOU think?