With today’s news that yet another high street store, (Peacocks) has gone into administration, it’s really got me wondering about the future of the British high street. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Mary Portas’ campaign to promote independent businesses but I think we have an opportunity now to really give this campaign a boost and transform our generic high streets into something fresh and exciting. Here are some of the stores that have gone into administration in the last couple of years:
- La Senza
- Past Times
- Blacks Leisure
- Hawkins Bazaar
- Barratts (shoes)
- Faith (shoes)
- Jane Norman
- Focus DIY
- JJB Sports
- Arrogant Cat
- Alexon (Ann Harvey, Kaliko, etc)
As you can see, many of these are huge names, certainly names I remember growing up with. You’ll also notice that quite a few of these are still on our high streets today where either the process is slow or they have been bought. Why are they going into administration? Is it just a lack of consumer spending or is it that we as consumers are bored of shopping in the same places in every town for years on end and are slowly but surely campaigning for change?
With the demise of these generic shops comes an opportunity for the independent retailer to step up and prove that they really do have a place on our high streets. Independents with knowledgeable staff and great customer service stand only to gain in this market, coaxing those precious pennies from our pockets whilst their larger, stark neighbours expose their own weaknesses with even worse service and poorer quality stock as they fall. The risk however is that we will end up with a high street that is even more generic than ever as the failing stores are bought out by larger groups which already own huge chunks of our high street.
So here I am on my soap box, preaching what you’ve all heard a million times before but I really mean it…support your independents! We have a huge opportunity to transform our own shopping experiences for the better and we need to seize it or it could be another 10 years of drudgery before we get the chance!
On that note, please do comment if you know of any independents that you want to give a shout out to! x