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Fears Grow Over The Future Of 5,500 High Street Shops


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+1 particularly the spanish ones ........even their fish sections don't smell of fish ..that in a hot climate just shows how clean they are too

London markets are often a fortune. It's as though getting good fresh food is some kind of anomaly for which we should pay through the nose. Markets in the SE of France are superb. Great value and great quality.

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No, money-grubbing 'Green' councils changed everything.

I started buying from the Internet largely because 'pedestrianisation' made the town centre such a pain for anyone with a job to shop in and then they followed up with insane prices in the car park. Otherwise there were plenty of things I would rather have bought straight away than wait for days for them to arrive from the Internet.

Here in Canada I buy more from local stores than from the Internet because I can just drive there, park for free and get whatever I want, and since rents are lower the prices are typically competitive with Internet stores anyway.

Plus, when the parking charge (or the bus fare into town) is almost the same as any delivery charge from ordering online it's usually cheaper just to buy it online.

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Business rates are too high

Parking is too expensive

Shops close at the same time as people leave work

Internet makes it easier to shop

Not a combination that is easy to undo

Actaully by far the biggest problem for shops is that there are too many shops*

On my high street there used to be one cafe, one take-away

Today there is....about 5 cafes...5 take aways....2 coffee shops (costa type)

So once were there were t wo guys doing a good trade and making good money maybe enough to even pay taxes

Today there are.

5 cafes sitting idle most the time just treading water by not paying any taxes that they can avoid/evade

5 take away in the same situation

2 costa types who i dont f.know i aint paying a fiver for coffee. i guess they doing ok

No amount of free parking is going to help these 10 shops.

What is needed is for 5 of them to close down so the remaining 5 can earn an honest buck

* of course the reason there are too many shops is because we dont need some of the historic shops as we perfer to buy their products elsewhere. butcher/baker etc.

in their place we have just got more and more food/take away shops and charities who are exempty from many a tax

My solution would be for councils to allow a good number of shops to be converted into residentials/B&B/etc maybe at the edges of high streets

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Does anyone have any statistics on the relative importance of:

1. Rent

2. Rates

3. Number of customers

4. Spending per customer

For small retail this is your importance

1: Turnover : # customers and £££ per customer

2: Turnover

3: Turnover

4: Turnover

5: Turnover

6: Taxes (this is the same for all industry so not sure it counts)

7: Rent

8: Wages

9: Business rates

10: Insurance

Of course things like parking or congestion charges can have quite a large impact on your turnover.

However what is more important is competition.

If your a cafe and one opens two shops down, thats bye bye half of your turnover and some pressure on your prices too

Where a business could earn an honest buck and make a ok return

You know have two businesses that make no money and have to dodge tax to not go bankrupt. Both are on the black makret scrap heat working 100h for £3-4quid an hour

Or ofcourse if the reverse happens, two cafes and one goes under. You just doubled your turnover with only a small increase in costs.

Councils will eventually have to get rid of some high streets all together or reduce the number of shops on high streets.

This could be done by combining shops so two small shops into a medium one however the crunch in this is that landlords will have to charge less rent. so if they were getting £10k pa on each shop it would then become £10k for the one bigger shop. This would likely be the best outcome

What will happen is.

The government will turn a blind eye and allow all small retail to be black economy. empoy immigrants for £3-4/ph. pay no taxes bar the very very low business rates.

You will have a high street full of charity shops (no rent no rates no taxes no customers) and ever more cafes/corner shops willing to work for £1/ph

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* of course the reason there are too many shops is because we dont need some of the historic shops as we perfer to buy their products elsewhere. butcher/baker etc.

My parents used to live just up the road from the local butcher until a couple of years back and it was always busy when I went past. Same for the down-town baker.

The problem is not so much that people don't want to buy there as that councils have made buying there such a pain. As you said, the high street where I used to buy useful things was also taken over by cafes, coffee shops, bookies and takeaways because three of those were open when parking was free in the evenings and the fourth was mostly frequented by layabouts as far as I could see.

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My parents used to live just up the road from the local butcher until a couple of years back and it was always busy when I went past. Same for the down-town baker.

The problem is not so much that people don't want to buy there as that councils have made buying there such a pain. As you said, the high street where I used to buy useful things was also taken over by cafes, coffee shops, bookies and takeaways because three of those were open when parking was free in the evenings and the fourth was mostly frequented by layabouts as far as I could see.

“Busy” doesn’t translate to profit

You could well process and serve one customer every 10 minutes and take a fiver off them. That is £30 per hour with a GP of say 50% that gives you £15 GP / hour

Your paying perhaps £9h/staff member an hour so the business is taking in £6 in that hour per worker where it looks busy. With that £6 an hour you need to pay all your overheads. Rent, rates, insurance, stock wastage, maintenance, equipment breaking, staff to clean up, accountants, taxes all sorts of shit not to mention you need profit to keep the dam thing open

By comparison someone I know has a sweet shop. Average sale price say £1

Can serve 100 an hour. GP is 80%. Said store takes in GP/h of £80 when busy.

Pay a staff member £7 and you got £73 profit/ph

The sweet shop man doesn’t look busy at all. He serves and sits for a minute, serves and sits.

A butcher might take an order, talk a min, go get the meat, cut it up, package it, give it to the customer, take payment, give change, give receipt and move on.

He looks busy but took in just £3.50GP / hour.

The biggest problem for small shops is not enough customers.

That is partly due to the super markets. Partly due to parking fees/restrictions

But by far it is due to too many shops.

The outcome of all this is either we see a lot of shops go bust and the shops merge to offer bigger units for the same rent. Or we see shop owners willing to make less and less and less and less profits. That is what has happened in the last 10-15 years so much so that v.likely NOT A SINGLE SHOP on your high street is making an honest buck

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My parents used to live just up the road from the local butcher until a couple of years back and it was always busy when I went past. Same for the down-town baker.

The problem is not so much that people don't want to buy there as that councils have made buying there such a pain. As you said, the high street where I used to buy useful things was also taken over by cafes, coffee shops, bookies and takeaways because three of those were open when parking was free in the evenings and the fourth was mostly frequented by layabouts as far as I could see.

Here is a business case for a butcher today

GP: 40%

Rent: £20,000

Rates payable: £5,000

3.5Staff: £80,000

Utilities: £5,000

Other: £5000

Investment into store: £50,000.

We wish to recoup this is 5 years which is reasonable as the risk/reward. £10,000

Total GP required = £125,000

Total TO required = £313,000

This man needs to sell more than £310,000 before he makes a single penny for himself. He needs to sell £400,000 to earn himself a wage of £35,000 and that with the stress of a 100h no guarantee risk your own money job.

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My parents used to live just up the road from the local butcher until a couple of years back and it was always busy when I went past. Same for the down-town baker.

The problem is not so much that people don't want to buy there as that councils have made buying there such a pain. As you said, the high street where I used to buy useful things was also taken over by cafes, coffee shops, bookies and takeaways because three of those were open when parking was free in the evenings and the fourth was mostly frequented by layabouts as far as I could see.

Very true...the set up costs and red tape to open a small shop is not for the fainthearted...in this country it seems we like to make things as complicated as possible for anyone to start their own business...even though we were called a nation of shopkeepers..........I have noticed more mobile van style shops to keep overheads down, they move to different market towns on market day selling anything from cheeses and pork pies to meat even fish and chips...

Why would someone take time out to visit town to shop, have a coffee or something to eat when it can cost that in parking, and they have the worry of feeding the meter, the time running out, overpaying...it does not make for a relaxing days shopping and or chatting....it makes you want to avoid the place or stop the car jump out and just get something quick without lingering too much......a friend of mine had to rush out of the hairdressers, run down the road with hair half cut to feed the meter...I ask you. ;)

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Here is a business case for a butcher today

GP: 40%

Rent: £20,000

Rates payable: £5,000

3.5Staff: £80,000

Utilities: £5,000

Other: £5000

Investment into store: £50,000.

We wish to recoup this is 5 years which is reasonable as the risk/reward. £10,000

Total GP required = £125,000

Total TO required = £313,000

This man needs to sell more than £310,000 before he makes a single penny for himself. He needs to sell £400,000 to earn himself a wage of £35,000 and that with the stress of a 100h no guarantee risk your own money job.

No holiday pay.

No sick pay.

No pension.

Long hours......with the house on the line as collateral.

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so who's on this list then?

Off the top of my head here's my list:

Blockbuster (Dead Concept)

HMV (Dead Concept, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Past Times (Tat, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

MenKind (Tat, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Partners (Over priced - Convenience Tesco - Online)

Staples (Over priced - Convenience Tesco - Online)

The Entertainer (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Early Learning Centre (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Mothercare (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Clintons (Tesco Convenience/Card Factory Cheaper)

Hallmark (Tesco Convenience/Card Factory Cheaper)

Superdrug (When a shop starts stocking items outside of their range they are in troubl - Now stocks Coffee)

Burtons (Will just be a department within BHS - Primark/Newlook/H&M etc eating into their marketshare)

Topshop/Topman (As above- Primark/Newlook/H&M etc eating into their marketshare)

Wimpy (Over priced, Franchises so the quality really differs - bad ones will close)

DFS (being selling creadit for years, may have a cashflow problem if the repayments dry up)

Comet/Currys/Dixons (Tesco - Online)

Carpet/Home Furnishing Shops (We're not flipping houses anymore)

Pubs/Clubs/Bars (Being dying for years)

Gyms (Expensive)

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Off the top of my head here's my list:

Blockbuster (Dead Concept)

HMV (Dead Concept, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Past Times (Tat, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

MenKind (Tat, Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Partners (Over priced - Convenience Tesco - Online)

Staples (Over priced - Convenience Tesco - Online)

The Entertainer (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Early Learning Centre (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Mothercare (Over priced - Tesco - Online)

Clintons (Tesco Convenience/Card Factory Cheaper)

Hallmark (Tesco Convenience/Card Factory Cheaper)

Superdrug (When a shop starts stocking items outside of their range they are in troubl - Now stocks Coffee)

Burtons (Will just be a department within BHS - Primark/Newlook/H&M etc eating into their marketshare)

Topshop/Topman (As above- Primark/Newlook/H&M etc eating into their marketshare)

Wimpy (Over priced, Franchises so the quality really differs - bad ones will close)

DFS (being selling creadit for years, may have a cashflow problem if the repayments dry up)

Comet/Currys/Dixons (Tesco - Online)

Carpet/Home Furnishing Shops (We're not flipping houses anymore)

Pubs/Clubs/Bars (Being dying for years)

Gyms (Expensive)

The successful high streets that people want and use don't have any of the above stores....only the pub. ;)

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A local problem that I've identified is concept of saturation point where a town / high-street only has the footfall / catchment area to support 'n' of any particular type of business.

As soon as the n'th + 1 opens, they all struggle.

It is playing out very obviously in the context of Real Ale / Gastropubs, and I have come to the conclusion that this town is capable of sustaining 4 Real Ale Gastropubs. At that level, they all tick-over nicely, providing employment and turning a profit; even if not a spectacular one.

So aspiring publican spots these 4 Real Ale / Gastropub doing OK for themselves and opens Real Ale / Gastropub number 5, and now they are ALL in trouble. Then it's simply survival of the ______ until we're back down to 4 Real Ale / Gastropubs and everyone's happy again (except for the one that went out of business).

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A local problem that I've identified is concept of saturation point where a town / high-street only has the footfall / catchment area to support 'n' of any particular type of business.

As soon as the n'th + 1 opens, they all struggle.

It is playing out very obviously in the context of Real Ale / Gastropubs, and I have come to the conclusion that this town is capable of sustaining 4 Real Ale Gastropubs. At that level, they all tick-over nicely, providing employment and turning a profit; even if not a spectacular one.

So aspiring publican spots these 4 Real Ale / Gastropub doing OK for themselves and opens Real Ale / Gastropub number 5, and now they are ALL in trouble. Then it's simply survival of the ______ until we're back down to 4 Real Ale / Gastropubs and everyone's happy again (except for the one that went out of business).

I would agree footfall is the winning formula....lack of suitable and expensive parking and transport, reduces that before you even start ....but a mixture of similar eateries only encourages people into the area, more will travel from further afield for the extra choice and atmosphere...people like to congregate where others do...that is why you find lots of pound shops in the same place...you visit one, you visit them all....I am not suggesting a high street should be filled with £ shops but more than one type of the same business brings in more people, so it is often good competition not bad. ;)

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A local problem that I've identified is concept of saturation point where a town / high-street only has the footfall / catchment area to support 'n' of any particular type of business.

As soon as the n'th + 1 opens, they all struggle.

It is playing out very obviously in the context of Real Ale / Gastropubs, and I have come to the conclusion that this town is capable of sustaining 4 Real Ale Gastropubs. At that level, they all tick-over nicely, providing employment and turning a profit; even if not a spectacular one.

So aspiring publican spots these 4 Real Ale / Gastropub doing OK for themselves and opens Real Ale / Gastropub number 5, and now they are ALL in trouble. Then it's simply survival of the ______ until we're back down to 4 Real Ale / Gastropubs and everyone's happy again (except for the one that went out of business).

Isn't an important factor in the theory of market capitalism that the new business will look to offer a more compelling deal than the existing businesses. So the n'th+1 will have a competitive edge over the others and the least competitive, be it the least efficient, most old fashioned, over staffed, whatever, is the one that closes.

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Isn't an important factor in the theory of market capitalism that the new business will look to offer a more compelling deal than the existing businesses. So the n'th+1 will have a competitive edge over the others and the least competitive, be it the least efficient, most old fashioned, over staffed, whatever, is the one that closes.

Good theory

But what happens in real life is that the one who is about to go bust and lose his whole life decides its either the dole or he cooks the books.

Obviously a man who has been working 100h a week all his life faced with losing it all and sitting on the dole chooses to cook the books

So instead of him going bust the one above him is now gona go bust

What does he do? Lose everything or cook the books?. Yep u guessed it

Then #3 is forced to do the same

And v.soon they are all black market traders

They all make no money and the government gets no tax receipts

But one extra landlord gets his income

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The recession - and many other things - have made me conclude that I do not need any more tat.

I just don't need any more stuff.

Sorry, shopkeepers. Sorry, advertising people. Sorry, importers.

I just don't need it.

Game Over.

+1 I haven't made any big ticket purchases since I bought my iPhone nearly 18 months ago. I've got everything that I need and the relatively few small ticket things that I buy I almost always buy online. We have a huge shopping centre in Milton Keynes and I can count of the fingers of one hand the times I've been down there in the last year.

I think it's a sort of natural compensatory behaviour for the increasing amount I have to spend on the essentials - food, train fare, petrol, utilities, council tax etc.

Edited by monstermunch
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Good theory

But what happens in real life is that the one who is about to go bust and lose his whole life decides its either the dole or he cooks the books.

Obviously a man who has been working 100h a week all his life faced with losing it all and sitting on the dole chooses to cook the books

So instead of him going bust the one above him is now gona go bust

What does he do? Lose everything or cook the books?. Yep u guessed it

Then #3 is forced to do the same

And v.soon they are all black market traders

They all make no money and the government gets no tax receipts

But one extra landlord gets his income

So your hypothesis is that taxes are too high. After all cooking the books can only serve to reduce the profits that are taxed. It doesn't reduce any costs, they are still incurred and have to be paid.

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We have a huge shopping centre in Milton Keynes and I can count of the fingers of one hand the times I've been down there in the last year.

I used to go up there for a wander round, have a look at the market, see what event they were doing in the indoor square in front of JL. I haven't been up since they stopped the free parking bays.

Rush round before the ticket runs out, why bother.

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I used to go up there for a wander round, have a look at the market, see what event they were doing in the indoor square in front of JL. I haven't been up since they stopped the free parking bays.

Rush round before the ticket runs out, why bother.

Can't say I'm particularly bothered about the parking charges, the standard rate bays which are a two minute walk away are 30p an hour. But I take you're point, with the convenience of online shopping it certainly doesn't encourage me to make the journey especially with the high price of petrol.

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  • 433 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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