Is this the end of the high street?

Posted 16 Jan 2013 by Walaa Idris


Some might call me a cynic but I am not buying all the wistful cries of anguish regarding HMV and those that disappeared from our high streets recently. Their departure is sad, but it is not as if we didn’t see it coming for some time now. Our lives, habits and the way we do many things have changed tremendously in recent years, and this the product of that change.

Don’t get me wrong, it is poignant to see an old giant leave the stage and leave broken, not to mention the human cost every time a company goes under. But, HMV is not the first to go and it won’t be the last to vanish from our high streets either, many will follow. Every business that refuses or can’t streamline and join the present will undoubtedly struggle then finish. Harsh maybe, but that’s how the economy works.

Like many people, since the turn of the century I only visited HMV once or twice at the end of the year around Christmas. I do the same with Waterstones and I have not seen the inside of a phone shop in more than eight years. I shop for my books and DVDs online, music I download, plus I no longer buy whole albums but only the songs I like, my phone is delivered directly from my network provider…. Thankfully, I still prefer to try before I buy when it comes to cloth, and love shoes, handbags and accessories shopping. Will not allow anyone to choice my fruits, vegetables and fresh produce but happy for them to pick and deliver my cleaning and other dry products.

I honestly don’t think I am alone, and believe many people do a similar thing. Shopping online frees time, saves money and is simply very convenient and hassle free; it can be slotted in at any time and done from anywhere.

It is okay to feel sad and nostalgic about losing the way things used to be. But it is not okay for businesses to do nothing to modernise and expect to stay in the game. Every business that does not evolve and compete in the arena of speed, convenience and small overheads will see their business suffer then die.

As for Labour politicians saying this government has questions to answer regarding the demise of the high streets, is disingenuous, short-sighted and unrealistic to say the least.

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