I read with interest A Better Man‘s blog entitled ‘Have You Visited the Everything Store?’
Over here in the UK the ‘Everything’ store as well as rising business rates and rents are closing traditional high street stores by the dozen, as consumers choose cheaper online shopping and the convenience of not having to drive to a shopping centre, pay to park the car, and then walk to the store only to find it hasn’t got exactly what you want.
In Suffolk, the latest casualty of the Everything store is the large department store Beales, which has several branches and has been trading since 1881. Mothercare has recently shut its doors, and in the past we’ve lost Maplins, Thomas Cook, Freeman Hardy and Willis, Tandy, Dixons, Dewhurst, MFI, Jane Norman, C&A, Comet, JJB Sports, Barratts, Blockbuster, British Home Stores, Toys R Us, and F.W Woolworth. House of Fraser and Debenhams aren’t looking good either, and I only hope Marks & Spencer’s hold out, as that will be the final nail in the coffin.
Our high streets are filling up with coffee shops and mobile phone shops, both of which seem to do a roaring trade. However, if those are all that’s going to be left in our high streets in the future, then it’ll be a sad day for everyone. Sam and I went into our local branch of that well-known coffee shop recently and asked for 2 green teas, which came to nearly £5. I know I sound like my mother (who used to complain at the price of most things), but £5 for 2 cups of tea will ensure I’ll never cross their threshold again; I’d rather drink water and make a cup of tea when I get home!
It’s got to the point where every time I go to Bury St. Edmunds, our local town, I see another shop has closed, or that another cafe or coffee shop has opened. Huge out-of-town supermarkets have taken the place of all the little corner shops of my youth that provided more of a personal service, and so I wonder … what will be left of our high streets for the next generation? They’ll be able to sit with an overpriced coffee after buying their new phones, but what other shops will be available for them? None, I expect; but that’s okay, as they’ll all be buying stuff from the ‘Everything’ store.