AIBU to think that high streets and small towns will be thing of the past?

(310 Posts)
Lonelybunny Sun 13-Jan-13 21:36:28

Well now due to Jessops going broke and clintons and woolworths our town has hardly any shops left. It's so depressing down there, do you think the only shops left will be super stores, like asda and tesco? Maybe due to them selling everything and of course online shopping. I feel so bad for all the retail staff loosing jobs yet again.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 19-Jan-13 14:13:47

Interesting about Europe. The country I know best is France, and they have supermarkets everywhere along with vast hypermarchés. But their small town shops seem to be thriving at the same time. What's the difference. Anyone know anything about French commercial life?

alemci Sat 19-Jan-13 14:38:21

When I went to Auxerre ( a while back) the relatives we stayed with shopped in the indoor market in the town centre. Produce seemed to be more local

I think towns with markets in the UK probably fair better than those who don't but I could be wrong.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 19-Jan-13 15:37:56

As I said a couple of posts ago, Germany has restrictions on how much a shop can discount its goods. This means there aren't huge variables in prices in shops for the same branded goods. This is a big part of the reason Asda/Wal-Mart failed there; they were unable to employ their usual practice of undercutting all the shops in town until they're forced to close.

It's also how Aldi/Lidl started there- so there's still a discount option in the market, it's just that the goods aren't branded.

I don't know about France and other countries; perhaps someone else can comment?

garlicblocks Sat 19-Jan-13 16:39:12

Very interesting about German price controls, GreenEggs, thanks!

Out-of-town hypermarkets hit French villages very badly indeed. It was a major issue well before it happened here - I think the impact was more drastic because France has many more small, rural communities. I don't know whether, or how, this was addressed - I recall State interventions being mooted - or if local businesses managed to reinvent themselves. Can anyone update??

garlicblocks Sat 19-Jan-13 16:53:32

Ah ... After the successes of super- and hyper-markets and amid fears that smaller stores would be forced out of business, France enacted laws that made it more difficult to build hypermarkets and also restricted the amount of economic leverage that hypermarket chains can impose upon their suppliers (the Loi Galland).
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypermarket

In order to address buyer power problems and the imbalance in supplier-retailer relations, the Loi Galland (Galland Law, 1996) instituted a ban on selling below cost of production.

Despite pressure to change this, the ban was retained in the amendments made by the Loi Dutreil II (September 2005).

Loi Dutreil II also limited retrospective payments and extra “service cost fees” (^marges arrières^) that retailers were asking from suppliers. The new law also requires that contracts between a retailer and its supplier clearly state all pricing terms with no hidden discounts, and has introduced new procedures for penalising offenders.

Discussion here (pdf)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 19-Jan-13 20:14:09

So Germany and France, the economic leaders of Europe, can exert control over this but the UK apparently can't? You can definitely see France, a much more centralised state passing this, but Germany is a federal power. Well done them.

garlicblocks Sat 19-Jan-13 20:48:53

I fail to understand the English revulsion for price controls. We fetishise free enterprise to a lunatic degree - I sometimes think you can see our background as the world's thieves and dustbin in everything we do! If a business cannot make its margins without ripping other businesses off, it's badly run.

In fact, the assumption does British marketers a huge disfavour; we're world leaders in creative positioning, added value and so forth. A bit of ground-levelling via restricted prices, rents and rates could do much to set this creativity free. Even the US operates more controls than we do! I see nothing to be proud of in setting ourselves up as champions of the race to the bottom.

garlicblocks Sat 19-Jan-13 20:50:10

I meant "the world's thieves and scrap merchants".

HouseOfTinsel Sat 19-Jan-13 21:07:22

Following on from the thing about high streets needing to have facilities, yes they do.

People go to out of town shopping centres because they are EASIER and more COMFORTABLE.

Parking - free
Nice(ish) loos - free
Wheelchair access / easy underfoot
Well lit
Out of the cold and wet

Obviously the high street will struggle to compete with some of that, but planners need to wake up to the fact that most people won't change their habits to 'shop local' out of conscience - they will use town centres when they are pleasant and hospitable places to be.

gazzalw Mon 21-Jan-13 08:28:30

I think you need the whole package. You should be able to go to your high street knowing that you can do your banking chores, go to the library, have a coffee/meal and have access to free and clean loos, do a variety of shopping including top-up food shopping and come home with your to do list ticked off in its entirety.

DW was saying only the other day that it's often the case that one high street (and we are twixt several so have choice) doesn't serve all basic needs and then you find yourself having to do several shopping trips instead of one. Much as she hates the concept of a "one shop serves all" approach that the hypermarkets have, you can see why they've come to dominate urban areas at the expense of high street shops. In a time-poor society it's easier to do all one's shopping under one roof albeit a far inferior and lacklustre experience generally.

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