As we gently ease our way into the 2020s, one of the biggest changes we witnessed in the last decade with the online shopping boom, is the demise of some familiar High Street retailers with many of the big-name stores closing down.
Last year we lost Mothercare, although this was hardly surprising as its target group, babies and toddlers, really hate shopping. At no point do you see a queue of babies lining up to buy clothes as they have no interest whatsoever in fashion. I’m surprised the chain lasted so long.
Unlike Toys ‘R’ Us, where you couldn’t enter without seeing lots of children playfully riding around on scooters and bicycles. Since its demise, they now ride around on them in any supermarket. It’s become socially normal.
We also lost JJB Sports, partly swallowed up by Sports Direct where you can still play the fabulous game of picking 3 random trainers from a shelf, sending out a store assistant into a stockroom and guessing which, if any, they can find as a perfect match in your size.
On the entertainment front, as dedicated film channels and on demand internet streaming became more popular, we lost Blockbuster.
Blockbuster had a weird policy that if it was closed, you could simply post your rented DVDs back to them through their letterbox. If you ever visited when it opened at 9am on a Monday morning, you’d see some poor guy sweeping up all the broken DVDs and cases from the floor to put in the bin. No wonder it lost money.
Last year, Thomas Cook was another High St name not adapting to, nor competing with, the simpler and often cheaper method of doing business online and had literal sky-high overheads.
Unless retailers adapt their businesses to compete with the online shopping phenomenon by giving their stores a more welcoming customer-friendly experience, maybe by embracing new in-store virtual reality apps, than our High Street demise will sadly continue into this decade too.