Trouble in our Town Centres

Trouble in our Town Centres

Are you all set for a lovely weekend as it is a bank holiday? With the sunny milder forecast that we’ve been given, I would imagine that everywhere on the coast will be very busy, especially Blackpool. I bet retailers all over the country are praying for decent weather this weekend to get people in and help with the trouble in our town centres. The trouble being the lack of spending going on in the shops, not just in Blackpool but all over the UK.

Trouble in our Town Centres – all over the country

The news that H&M are closing in the Houndshill is yet another example of how towns and cities everywhere need to buck up their ideas and stop sitting on their laurels. They need to make sure that people want to come back instead of shopping online!

Blackpool Houndshill including H&M - trouble in our town centres
Blackpool Houndshill including H&M

It seems that the rents have risen, which hasn’t helped H&M’s situation any, as it is such a large two storey shop. An employee of the company did comment that the high rent helped to make the decision, as the town centre by and large is a lot quieter.

Going back about 15 years I used to go in their store in Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield a lot, and bagged some quite nice things at the time. But I have to say that going in the Houndshill store in recent years we’ve found that there seems to have been a drop in the quality of the goods with an increase in price. I can’t say that I’m all that surprised that they are closing as for the last few months, if not over a year, we haven’t even been in the shop. To us, in our opinion, it seems to be a poorer quality, both design and manufacture wise. If other people think the same, that could be one reason why their footfall is less, and nothing to do with the general trend on the high street.

No room for complacency

I just wish that all these shops, and the ones here in Cleveleys, would get back into the way of thinking that they have to do anything and everything to get people to spend their money and not just sit there and be complacent.

One thing’s for sure, unless you get your head out of the sand and make our resorts a super place to be, it can only get worse as people turn to online shopping, me included!

Jane and I have been going on and on about this same subject for ages, to be met by deaf ears. People shouldn’t just sit there and think that it will never happen because it can and it will. I don’t want to be the one to say ‘I told you so’ but until shop owners realise that the internet has become a big threat to High Streets, and that they need to be in the competition (not watching from the sidelines), I can’t see a happy ending.

Competing with the internet

Having never used a computer until my late sixties, I wouldn’t even have thought of online shopping at one time.

The trudging about we used to do just to buy, say some shelves, was a nightmare. It took ages, wore you out and then in the case of clothes they usually didn’t have my size. So when I began to use a computer, the first thing I got Jane to teach me (that was when I managed to stop the mouse from shooting the arrow all over the page) was internet shopping and I’ve never looked back.

At first as the computer world was so strange to me. I had all on to type, which was something I used to do with a proper typewriter when I was young, and quickly too. Eventually I found out what this, that and the other meant, so even though I made a lot of mistakes at first, I got there in the end.

Most people are mostly online

I was forever shouting to Jane to tell me what to do here and there as it was like reading a foreign language to me. I usually ordered something while she was in the living room so that I could pester her to death all the time I was doing it! I was determined to be able to order online so I stuck at it and now, some years later, I wouldn’t be without it.

The one thing I did struggle with when I first started to learn how to pay was the fact that every web site was different in their payment system. What I’m trying to say is that the lay out of the website payment differed from one to the next. Eventually though, I got there and found out what to do so now there’s no stopping me and that is the kind of threat the High Street faces.

It’s so easy to just order what you want and get it delivered to the door, it’s like waiting for a Christmas present to come. Now that we have Amazon Prime, we get things (anything you can think of) the next day which is even better. It doesn’t matter what you want, you can find it on Amazon. Their computer systems must be like the IBM mainframes which Kevin used to use when he was at the HSBC data centre. Amazon very seldom let you down and stock even the most weird thing that you could want.

High streets have got to be different to compete

The internet has certainly created trouble in our town centres. There’s no parking to pay, almost guaranteed clothes sizes and brand new not handled as they are in shops, no tiring yourself out and all the other things so for me, it’s no contest although I do still like to shop in the High Street and do so, but how long before people can’t be bothered to go out and shop I wonder!!! So when faced with Amazon, eBay and all the millions of individual websites which offer convenience and cheap prices, bricks and mortar stores have got to offer something different to compete.

What do you think? Do you shop online? Why don’t you leave your comment on this page and carry on the conversation for everyone to read? Just type it in, add your email address so we can check that you are real (you’d be amazed if you saw the spam we’ve had) and then Jane will approve it.

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