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back to article 62,000 fewer shops: Welcome to the High Street of 2018

Tens of thousands of UK retailers will go pop over the next five years, leaving hundreds of thousands of their employees scratching about for work, says the Centre of Retail Research (CRR). In a particularly bleak forecast, the sector-watcher says close to 62,000 of the near 282,000 outlets currently open for business in Blighty …

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Anonymous Coward

Great news for the Taxman ( not)

So now that the High Street shops will be closed and the fact that the online retailers dont/wont pay any Tax due to legal loopholes, who will actually pay the taxman ?

Also will there not be more jobs in the delivery sector, after all if no-one is buying in the High Street then obviously the goods are being delivered by someone. This should also mean the creation of jobs for storage, vehicule maintenance etc ....

Maybe we can then clean up the High Street store fronts, more jobs, maybe create more service industries, more jobs, since we will have no longer the need to spend time shopping OffLine.

Maybe we can start to produce locally again instead of eternally buying Made in China.

Maybe we can stop thinking "end of the world" and start by reasoning "beginning of a new world".

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Anonymous Coward

"who will actually pay the taxman ?"

If we re-elect the Tories? The working class, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

"If we re-elect the Tories? The working class, of course."

Or if we elect labour. They do like their tax's for their welfare state. And of course the lib dems would need to fund their wet dreams so them too. And on and on....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

There are more people in the working classes. You either stick a penny on their tax or you decide that you'll grab over 50% of the money of those earning a lot.

Surely it isn't far that over half of your income at a certain level is taken as tax? hardly seems fair does it. You just drive people to dodge tax.

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Re: Great news for the Taxman ( not)

VAT will still be payable for UK-based on-line retailers, and import duty except for small items (which loophole could be stopped). They can only offshore their profits to avoid tax, and of course local/commercial taxes will be lower for out-of-town warehouses.

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Re: Great news for the Taxman ( not)

Maybe we could start making things again! Now, where did I put those coal mines...

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

It would churlish to point out that in general the 'working class' pay very little tax with well 0ver 80% of the tax being paid by far less than 20% of earner. However the paper was about high streets. So once more pouring water on the parade, perhaps it might be useful to understand shopping habits and how they evolve?

Originally in villages you needed shops (or stalls) to be within about half to a mile of people's homes. As towns built up this rule was kept intact through towns that had a range of connected villages and corner shops. As transport expanded town centres became viable so more specialised shops, department stores arrived and big high streets emerged. Of course many women did not work through those times and those who did had no access to transport such as cars, so let us all blame society for changing NOT!.

Retail is now going through and evolution. Get over it.

Town centres have a few bits of tumble weed, some boarded up shops a few charity chops and the odd bank. The last time I visited my local town was after trying to get some sense out of the nitwit bank phone (dis)service. The 'branch' were no better, "come back in 14 days time when a specialist might be here". I went to another bank not in the centre of town and sorted it in 60 minutes.

So town centres are increasingly irrelevant and those bits that are left are committing suicide through terrible service.

Oh and for those all the lost tax moaners, the replacement businesses are paying tax via their staff, VAT and a load of other property taxes, all of which help to explain the way high streets are being killed off. Just going to a town will cost a fortune, most of which is tax pure (or impure) and simple, so why go there for nothing more than a tax bill?

Or is not going to the high (cost) street another bit of tax avoidance?

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JDX
Gold badge

the online retailers dont/wont pay any Tax due to legal loopholes

What makes you think the loopholes only apply or are only used by online companies? I don't recall Starbucks being an online company for instance. The loopholes are available to virtually every multinational company, which means the majority of high street chains since they are typically owned by multinationals even if they don't themselves operate much overseas...

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FAIL

Re: Great news for the Taxman ( not)

Last time I looked Starbucks was very much a shop-based business, as opposed to online. Merely having shops doesn't make you magically pay taxes.

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Silver badge

Re: Great news for the Taxman ( not)

Yes, you are correct, I was thinking in terms of the Multinationals, Amazon, Ebay, Google etc which are the online crowd.

And yes effectively the Starbucks, Applse, MacDonalds ( The high street crowd) etc are probably pulling of the same stunts.

The importance being that the International nature of these business allows them to exploit the loopholes

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great news for the Taxman ( not)

Ahem, you seem to have conveniently forgotten all the "British" companies who are doing the same - try looking up Boots, aka Alliance Boots ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_Boots )

There are plenty more, and all are acting LEGALLY.

But I guess just bashing johnny-foreigner makes better headlines and makes everyone feel better, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

80% of tax paid by <20% of earners? Don't make me laugh!

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/personal-incomes/tables3-11_3-15a.pdf

Table 3.11 gives an idea of tax rakes from earning bands and it seems very very clear that skilled blue collar and junior white collar workers pay the lions share of income tax.

But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a political viewpoint, eh?

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WTF?

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

Eh?

According to the description attached to table 3.11, it shows the cumulative gross income for various regions, and how that breaks down between different types of income. All income from employment (of any kind, regardless of "collar") is a single colour. So I don't see how you can make the claim you've made from that table.

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FAIL

Re: "who will actually pay the taxman ?"

I said Tax, i.e. total tax cake, unlike you I did not limit myself to income tax. As a pensioner living in the tax paying capital, the south east I need a wider picture.

While fewer low paid worker now pay tax, their contribution possibly still cost more to collect than it raises. Collectively their contribution is still a small percentage of the whole. While it may not suit your argument, I have been and remain in favour of low paid people paying nothing until they reach a sensible threshold.

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Anonymous Coward

Classic government

Hmm, businesses are going under right now, and rapidly at that. This means we're getting less money, how do we solve this? MORE TAX!

Seriously, no wonder businesses are going under, they're getting taxed through the wazoo. And it isn't just the government bleeding them dry either. Highstreet stores are generally owned by large companies. The town I live in is owned by a single entity pretty much, and I imagine it's the same everywhere else. You can't just set up shop elsewhere in the highstreet because every store is owned by the same company. they set the rent and you have to pay. You can't just look for a better deal because there isn't one, they own EVERYTHING.

Perhaps is the government lowered the amount of tax it demands off of businesses and implements some form of rent control on business premesis we'd start seeing some kind of turnaround.

Make less money to make more money. Not only would there be more businesses staying open to tax, but there would be more businesses hiring which would lead to more tax, more people spending which would lead to more tax income. Effectively a cut in one area would lead to a leveling out thanks to tax in several others.

Close the loopholes and they could probably cut tax further. I'm not talking to insane extremes here, just enough for businesses to start having some kind of fighting chance again. If I canI always buy locally, by which I mean actual local stores, rather than chains. Even if it's a few quid extra I'd rather that few quid goes to keeping my local town live rather than see it go the same way Southampton seemed to be going when I was at uni. (everything closing except west quay)

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Re: Classic government

Mate of mine closed his retail business this year. 18 people lost their jobs.

I don't normally drop links, in fact never have before now but if anyone wants to really raise their blood pressure, have a read. I was totally horrifed - he literally built the business with his bare hands.

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Re: Classic government

Having read the article in the link this typifies the completely perverse thinking that goes on. There are huge numbers of empty shops and the principal problem is the cost of rent and business rates. Property companies appears to have this attitude that it is better to have no one paying a high rent than anyone paying an affordable rent. How how these property companies making their money. In most places the property values are not increasing at a rate that means keeping it empty is profitable. There has to be some equally dodgy scam somewhere here that make it worthwhile. As for busness rates, local authorities have to get money from somewhere but the same thing applies, if there are only a fewpaying anthing, then it is an ever decreasing circle.

The whole thing is a complete mess and no government has the political balls to do anything about it, probably because like, MP's expenses, corporate tax and the banks, there are just too many vested interests and snouts in the trough.

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Re: Classic government

If I walk around the centre of Norwich we have masses of large empty purpose built office blocks. All of them within 500 yds of the train station. It's terrible but the rates they want for these offices haven't changed at all.

The other issue is that the council decided to install all the pubs and strip joints around them and that was a major reason for many of the companies moving out. They just got fed up washing vomit and suchlike off their doorsteps every week.

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Silver badge

A nation of shop closers

> the proliferation of e-commerce means retailers need only 70 stores to build a national presence

That sounds a bit high, roughly 70 stores too high, when you consider the likes of Amazon as already having a "national presence".

There may be an argument for a few high-profile vanity stores, in central London, for example. But otherwise the whole point of online shopping is to NOT have the expense and hassle of maintaining actual shops.

Otherwise, the prognostications of this retail body seem blindingly obvious to anyone who's ever done any online shopping. Hopefully all the out of work shop assistants can get jobs as delivery drivers, instead. You never know, that might even lead to home delivery companies starting to deliver at convenient times - like evenings and weekends, when (those who still have jobs that require their presence) people are actually at home.

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bep

Quite

I used to get parcels delivered to a small local post office I could walk to. But the post office started getting more and more parcel deliveries. Great you may say, more business for them! Oh no, too much hassle, now that branch won't accept parcels at all, and the service has been 'consolidated' to a post office miles away. Way to shoot yourself in the foot. I'm at home most evenings; so are the delivery drivers, or so it seems.

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Gold badge

Record Industry style tactics?

All those people buying goods online to be sued for causing great losses to the high street?

I'm pretty sure the idea of an Internet sales tax will appear again at some point as many of the big online sellers are masters at dodging tax.

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Re: Record Industry style tactics?

Well no, the record industry went down the pan because it buried its head in the sand for too long. Sorry about the mixed metaphor. Actually online shopping is shifting jobs from town centre shops to warehousing and distribution, which is actually a much more efficient use of resources. It also replaces one-person-one-car-one item journeys with planned delivery rounds which must reduce carbon emissions.

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WTF?

Re: Record Industry style tactics?

When I buy on the internet I pay 20% VAT just like I would do in a shop, if there were any. I also pay 20% VAT on the delivery cost. Most 'big business' LEGALLY structure themselves to minimise costs including their tax charges. They are legally obliged to run the company that way as part of their LEGAL responsibilities. Do you propose they should act illegally and breach their contract of employment to suite your whims?

To be honest I have some money that might earn more interest, not much more, just a little if I moved it about. If I did so my costs would go up and my tax bill would increase, complicating my tax return.

It is not worth the effort, am I avoiding tax by not generating a tiny bit more income?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Record Industry style tactics?

"am I avoiding tax", Margret Hodge thinks so. She expects you to take up smoking too, just to pay more".

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Simple problem, difficult answer

The problem is actually very simple; peopale don't go to some high streets because there is no compelling reason for them to do so. The main area in the town where i live is actually very nice; a lot of independant shops, a good bus service, clean toilets, reasonable parking, the occasional special event and overall a plesant shopping experience.

Compare that to a lot of places; a large number of empty shops, no parking, no buses, toilets closed due to vandals (or cuts), gangs of feral children roaming the streets or drunks & druggies accosting people. No wonder people would rather go elsewhere.

So how to resolve the problem; it needs time, money, encouragement from local people and traders, as well as the political will to make changes. There are no quick fixes.

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Silver badge

Re: Simple problem, difficult answer

I've lived in three towns in the last three years. Two are post-industrial with staunch Labour-run councils. One is not. The town centres of the first two are places I avoid like the plague - need to pay a (relative) fortune to park, no decent shops, most of them pound-saver types, and surly people with an apparent IQ just about the the level of average great ape (customers or employees). My shopping-places of choice are/were the out-of-town facilities with a big supermarket. The other apologised because it needed to put its parking charges up (from free to 20p for two hours), a large range of shops, some independent, and pleasant people who could and would have conversations. It was a pleasure to shop there* - interestingly, it still had a proper High Street that wasn't pedestrianised. It felt much more "human" because it was used by all sorts of people.

What is the moral? Stop charging for parking, make the town centres easy to get in to, get rid of pedestrianised areas, encourage independent shops, and have some way of rewarding niceness. That way town centres may not be going the way of the dodo.

*Note that I generally dislike shopping - I want to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible (hence the preference for supermarkets). However, I used to go to the nice centre two or three times a week just because it was a good experience.

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Anonymous Coward

How to save the high street

Lets compare-

The cheap simplicity of picking up my computer I already have, with the internet connection I already have and ordering something in a couple of minutes with customer reviews etc.

Against the joy of driving (or if you are seriously unlucky- public transport) to the shops where you must pay for parking assuming you live near a high street with parking. After you pay £5 with the intention of spending less than £50 this trip you get to slog to the shops and buy your goods. The prepared bring strong bags with them because the unprepared get to pay (to save the world) for the thinnest carrier bags guaranteed to break.

Personally I prefer the bricks and mortar shop which specialises in whatever I am looking for. I want to go to a butcher who knows what meat looks like, an electrics shop where they know how electrics work, etc. I like the personal service and have no issue with ordering in only to return to the shop for collection. I do hate paying a decent percentage of my cash to park up after already paying to travel and the physical act of carrying. I find the parking to be another tax which makes my frequent trips to the high street into once a week at the most.

That is on top of taxing the hell out of businesses so they cant start up

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Re: How to save the high street

Too true. I've always wondered what the point was of making parking so expensive as to drive customers away. Sure the local council makes money but at the expense of the shop owners. That is the reason why supermarkets took all the trade, the customers could park for free and buy stuff.

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Re: How to save the high street

Our small town still has a free car park. Stratford-on-Avon Useless District Council tried to introduce parking charges, on the grounds that they'd ruined the centre of Stratford and every other town in the vicinity and it really wasn't fair for one to hold out. But they backed down in the face of huge opposition. As a result, our town centre is thriving. Not the only reason, but it helps.

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Thumb Up

Re: How to save the high street

Very much in agreement on the "knowing how electronics work", or anything else for that matter, point. A lot of the places that have gone titsup are those that I remember going into only to find that the staff knew absolutely nothing about what they were selling. In situations like that, there's no point in making the trip and paying the premium over online.

You never hear about Richer Sounds being about to go under and from what I can tell, they seem to be bucking the trend. This might be to do with the staff actually knowing (and caring) about the products.

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Re: How to save the high street

That may have been the reason in the past, but I don't think it is now. The simple fact is that people need to eat and (in a lot of towns) the only place you can do your food shopping is in the supermarket. I live in quite an affluent town, and until the end of the 90s, we had a good selection of shops you could buy food in. A few butchers, Kennedy's (for sausages), 2 fishmongers, 1 bakery and a couple of greengrocers, one small Sainsbury's and a Safeways. Now, in 2013, we have 1 butcher, 1 baker, 2 branches of Sainsburys (within a few hundred metres of each other, but both are apparently profitable) and one large Tescos a couple of miles away.

Now, any retail expert will tell you that when trying to get people to buy more, over half the battle is getting them in the doors. Once they are in, selling to them is a lot easier. Supermarkets have the advantage that unless you order food online (which isn't an option for a lot of people), in most towns (mine included) you need to go in to a Supermarket. Once you are in there, it's far easier to persuade you to buy all sorts of additional items (CDs, DVDs, Books, Clothes, Electrical items etc) that you wouldn't necessarily buy otherwise.

This also means that the supermarkets can afford to sell those accessories at a loss, driving more of their competitors out of business.

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Re: How to save the high street

The other way of looking at it is...

The Cheap simplicity of picking up your computer, ordering the item, then waiting for it for at least a day, only to find that when the courier or delivery service does turn up, they just stick a note through the door saying they attempted to deliver the item but couldn't, and they've taken back to the depot so you can arrange delivery (in which case you may well have wasted 2 days off instead of one), or you can go pick it up (in which case you still have the problem of cost of transport and parking unless you can walk to the delivery centre).

Against the joy of driving to the shops, paying for parking, then driving home a couple of hours later with the item in hand.

Personally I am happy to shop on and off line, but it is a case of swings and roundabouts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How to save the high street

@Stuart Castle:

You make some good points but where I live there is a market with butchers, bakers, grocers, fishmongers and over a good range of ethnic foods. It amazes me how few people know of its existence. People will drive to asda, tesco and sainsbury's yet the food is much dearer and such poor quality. We have pointed the place out to a few people and none of them went back to the supermarket except for the harder to get items.

The key problem with this though is they are all students who dont drive and all public transport goes to the centre. But parking fees are insane yet cheaper than some other places I have been. At £5 a pop when my weekly shop is around £50 stings. I spend my weekly shop + 10% to support the high street. I do this however because the items are so much cheaper from the city than from the supermarket that I still save.

If it didnt cost me to park I would likely reduce my weekly shop and pop in throughout the week more on the way home. If more people did that it would be worth keeping the shops open longer in the week to catch those of us who would do this.

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JDX
Gold badge

Good

It would be better if town centres moved towards being interesting places focused on services like restaurants and coffee shops (independent please) rather than desperately trying to cling on to the old model of people going into town to shop. Put all the boring Boots/Tesco stores out of town if that's how it is going, and make town centres about leisure and people.

And please ban £ shops from the high street.

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Alien

Portas Project - Huge waste of time and money

The 'Portas Project' was just that, a massive waste of cash and effort. Pretty much all she suggested was make the parking free, and the shops a bit prettier. The report for it, that was supposed to feed into town centre planning was delayed, so that the Channel 4 series that she wanted to make from it wasn't spiked by the findings, and the places that took part in it generally thought that it was a waste of time and money.

Links for some of those bits:

http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/topics/portas-pilots-review-delayed-as-process-descends-into-farce/236904.article

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/retailing/article3444057.ece

She totally ignored the report from London Councils that came out in November last year that they had spent a load of time on about how to rejuvinate town centres, and did free parking work (no, as the enforcement has to be strict, or its too badly abused, and if enforcement is strict, people don't use it), and looked at studies into how much people using different transport modes spent in local shops. Those who come on foot/by bike/ by bus all spend more than those who come by car. Maybe if we where to turn our town centres into more pedestrian friendly spaces, with good bike parking they might do better.

See these for more:

http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/transport/parkinginlondon/parkingurban.htm

http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/accessibility-versus-amenity-how-the-bicycle-can-solve-the-dilemma/

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Unhappy

High Street

To help the high street is fairly easy. Pander to those of us who work 9-5:30 and so have money, as the poor do not make a good customer base.

So:

1) Remove the open hours laws. - I have money to spend BECAUSE I work during the day! Open the shops when I am free, to well shop. The Internet is always open for business. - guess what Supermarkets do this.

2) Parking - again only the poor don't drive. - the USA has free parking for most shops, yet its only the out of towns malls here that have free parking and then for only a few hours. To go into the city costs a lot in parking, which is off putting compared to just opening a browser and clicking. - Again only supermarkets seem to have figured this out.

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Re: High Street

"Only the poor don't drive"?

Fuck off, a bunch of twats driving in for free parking isn't going to save anything.

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Re: High Street

Agreed. It used to be a running joke the all the banks and post offices in town centres had no staff on at lunch time. Because they were at lunch themselves. While it's true that they need lunch, they are there to provide a service and a vast number of their customers who need their services would do it in the little spare time they have when they are open... i.e. at lunch time.

Some people get this service business, others don't - guess which ones are successful? A friend of mine owns a hair salon where her business plan was to provide out of town salon with in-town quality and style, but at convenient hours for those that work. The result... her and her staff work Tuesday through Thursday evenings through to 9pm, are open all day Saturday and have Monday off and start work later to compensate. It's a very successful salon because it provides services at the times that are needed.

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WTF?

Re: High Street

@Joe K...

Nice attitude there... i would say that the original post was spot on - i work 9 to 5 most days and then spend some time with the kids before they go to bed...

What does this mean? when i need something it has to be from a shop that is open after 6:30 / 7:00 pm and has parking (have you tried public transport in Cornwall?) so that rules out every single shop in every single town center within 30 miles of me...

Where do i shop then? Tesco (open 24/7) or other supermarkets and other out of town centres as these are open till 8 / 9 pm and have parking...

so yes, free parking for us "tw@ts" with cars would be a start, as would being open when we are able to shop - i have spend several hundred pounds on clothes in the last couple of months but none of this was at a high street shop....

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JDX
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Re: High Street

I'm pretty sure free parking is a big factor. Why go into town and pay £3 when the out-of-town-mall is free? Even a small fee can put people off on principle.

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Re: High Street @ Joe K

Are you a Labour councillor by any chance? You seem to have the attitude I associate with "hate the driver" Labour councils.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Taxes strangling the high street

1. Business Rates

2. Parking Fees

These are two of the biggest causes of retail business failure.

Business rates have exploded over the last 10 years as Labour continued its policy of taxing the productive economy to spend on the non-productive economy.

Parking fees have also ballooned as Local Councils have their funding cut by Central Government (again to give to the non-productive economy). Increased parking fees = less shoppers.

Successive Government policy FAIL.

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Taxes strangling the high street

Take most small French towns for example, with low biz rates and no parking fees - result: thriving town centres even with the presence of out-of-town hypermarkets and warehouse-type stores.

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Re: Taxes strangling the high street

THis makes absolute sense to me and I might add a 3rd:

3. Cap greedy landlords rent increases

You constantly hear of shops closing because their lease comes up for renewal and the landlord hikes the rent by 30% or more.

Oh and another:

4. Enforce planning rules to stop the giant retail businesses (Tesco etc) swamping the town with their shops, driving up prices and driving out local small competitors who can't subsidize loss-making pricing models.

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Silver badge

Re: Taxes strangling the high street

> stop the giant retail businesses (Tesco etc) swamping the town with their shops

Actually I like Tesco and the other supermarkets.

The thing about shops is that you can't buy what you want - you can only buy what they stock. Small shops carry small ranges and small quantities. Go into a small shop and ask for a "number 6 widget" and they'll tell you: sorry, we've only got a number 2 or a number 4, there's no call for a number 6, If you do find a shop with a number 6 widget, the price will be much higher due to the cost of the capital tied up in (unsold) stock and the square footage of the storage space they need to keep it.

Go to a large supermarket and they have 50,000 different widgets, and by selling lots of each sort each day, they are cheaper (and maybe fresher, too).

Where the internet is concerned, it's not much of a stretch to consider all online stores put together to be one, single retail entity. Since it makes little difference to your shopping "pleasure" whether you buy from cheepogoods.com betterstuff,com specialistwidgets.co.uk or imcheapbutinchina.cn - the only differences are cost, delivery times, (possibly) security and the methods of payment.

That makes internet shopping like supermarket shopping, but more so. More choice, lower costs and even the possibility (if you add expert forums into the mix) of getting knowledgeable advice on what you should buy, or avoid.

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Holmes

Good.

I am frankly glad that shops (and I'm also talking about independant shops here) are given the challenge of a statement like this. Frequenting shops in small towns and cities is a frustratingly unsatisfying experience...

The reasons for this are mutiplefold:

- Poor customer service as a rule... but more importantly a vast chasm in terms of understanding what that means.

- Parochial, League of Gentlemen style, "local" customer service.. if they dont know your name, you are treated like a second class of shopper

- Ridiculously impractical opening hours (I particularly love the slavish adherence to opening shops during working hours...when the vast population are at work)

- The idignant shock that a shop selling paperweights with 10.30 -16.30 opening hours didnt make any money (personally I like to do my paperweight shopping in the evening)

- Cash only!!!!

- "do you have anything smaller" in terms of money... I make it a rule to never use that shop again... do you think I care that you cant provide appropriate cash to manage your day.. you deserve to go out of business.

- The vision for most shops is very much based on one person's views and they are lucky if that aligns to public demand. There is rarely flexibility or the understanding that the customers are the shops, it's not a little slice of ego that makes money for you.

- Sure there are exceptions, but they are exceptions

Shops in this country need a massive kick up the arse, but the art of shopkeeping needs it more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good.

@TJ McVickers esq.:

"Cash only!!!!"

I have found 2 of these shops in the last 3 months, it is so nice. One was an expensive furniture shop and the other sold padding materials. I do all my shopping in cash except online because I prefer it. I know how much is in my hand I know how much I hand over and the transaction is in my control as I trade my notes and coins for whatever product I am buying. If I want more cash I go to the machine which tells me what I have and that psychological effect of seeing what I actually have restrains me from spending more.

I know not everyone agrees but I dont understand how divorcing a person from what they earn and what they spend can be good for anyone but the banks. I cut most of the conversation with bankers out because I pay my credit card in full and have no want or need for an overdraft. I earn money, I spend an amount, I save an amount. If I want something I save for it.

Funny enough the recessions seem to be based on credit, borrowing, speculative earnings. What isnt funny is that those who are sensible with money have to pay for the recession which puts people out of jobs and removes their incomes.

Maybe if people were more careful with their money, which I believe requires re-tethering a person to their earning/spending then I suspect this recession would not be so bad.

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The rot set in much earlier than the onset of online trading

Firstly they all became carbon copies of each other as chain stores trashed wages, cosied up to shopping centre developers and quietly moved all their product manufacturing to far eastern sweatshops.

Then the taxman (that is all of us) was thoroughly shafted again when Boots et. al. were bought out by debt laden private equity swindlers (namely the Banks, the big accountancy firms and other less savory lenders) and taxes dried up against these, lets face it, imaginary debts.

Finally, with the lie of 'job creation', every town with a population of over 100,000 constructed a massive, unnecessary, bland, boring, sterile, daylight free, retail PRISON disguised as a 'marketplace' that ensured local businesses could never survive or negotiate downwards the hefty rental prices demanded by the shadowy world of the 'Shopping Centre and Multi-storey Carpark Mafia'. Everything else left half standing on the periphery was mopped up by the out of town Retail Park for those that reflexively gag each time they approach the doors of a shopping centre and needed an alternative to purchase their essentials.

Any vestige of grass or weeds are usually destroyed the moment they pop up through the hard landscaping of gum spattered, shit-brown cobble locking. Trees, if any, are never allowed to age. The shopping centre at Salford Keys is a good example of how these developments set out to destroy any pleasure in shopping by turning it's back to the canal basin. You could spend three hours there and be completely oblivious to the waterway.

Anyone been to Eastern Europe recently? Town Centre's built in mind for people that might actually have something to say to each other on a Saturday afternoon. With proper, spacious, landscaped parks and pedestrian areas in the centre where you can spend a really pleasant few hours; whether spending or not. And a mix of retail that doesn't set out to shaft local traders.

My proposal, for a grim town like Blackpool for example, would be to knock down a block, or even a few blocks of empty retail shops before it's too late. Plant a nice park, and start with adding a children's playground. I'd also open the city gallery on a Sunday.

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Unhappy

TCR

I walked the length of Tottenham Court Road at the weekend, first time I've been there since the early 2000s, and blimey, that was a bit of a shock. At least half, possibly two-thirds of the old PC component and electric tat shops have closed, and in many cases nothing has replaced them. Just row after row of empty retail units for rent. Pretty sad.

What's worse is I took part in causing it when I started buying everything on-line. I'm sorry about that, but buying on-line is better in almost every way possible.

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Given that governments have spent the last 5 years transferring money from us to the financial sector as fast as they can, resulting in a widespread reduction in disposable income, in what way is this a surprise ?

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