Day: 20 January 2013

It is a curious thing, but the demise of HMV and chain stores of its genre may just be the saving of many high streets. Over four decades, the character of far too many high streets has been eroded by identikit chain shops and cavernous shopping centres lined with yet more chain shops. But many of these chains are now disappearing from the high street. Many have collapsed. Comet, HMV, Jessops, Clinton Cards and Woolworths – the list of high street failures is growing long. In 2012, around 54 retailers went, closing almost 4,000 stores and ending the jobs of 8,000 employees. Other retailers have found high streets too cramped and awkward to access. They moved out of town and then moved online. There are now more than 40,000 empty high street shops and the number of shoppers is declining. Charity and pop up shops sometimes fill the gaps, more often premises are left vacant. Its grim news. The recession has hastened the decline of our high streets but it is not the main force driving change. The retail industry has been forecasting the end of the high street for many years. When, several years ago, I challenged a British…

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