/ It's a retail revolotion but not as we know it...

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Pekkie 24 Jan 2019

How fast things are changing in retailing was really brought home to me yesterday. Big high street stores closing down, little local town centre shops being forced out of business, Amazon cheating on tax... except I needed a book quickly. Local shopping centres and retail parks don't have bookshops anymore. It's a major hassle going to Liverpool City Centre and in any case the trains aren't running. So go on Amazon and within two minutes book is on my iPad. Also went to get my mat from the garage for a spot of bouldering. Duh, not there. Lost it. Nearest climbing shop in city centre. Go Outdoors doesn't have one I want in stock locally. Go on Amazon and next day delivered free and on time. So what can a poor boy do? Be a like an eighteenth century luddite and stick with the canal boat rather than go by train? Or go for convenience?

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yesbutnobutyesbut 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Things move on.

I personally try and avoid Amazon though. There's several independent climbing shops online that could have delivered a mat next day.

I'd rather support them online or in a real shop.

 

Pekkie 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Just realised that I put 'revolotion' rather than 'revolution' in the title. But I bet you could get 'revolotion' off the internet - you know like Viagra that you rub in.

1
Pekkie 24 Jan 2019
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> I personally try and avoid Amazon though. There's several independent climbing shops online that could have delivered a mat next day.

Actually, it was LD Mountain Centre, link via Amazon. And when I can I use climbing shops such as Joe Brown's in Capel Curig even if it means paying extra. But when you can sit on your arse and get it delivered for free you can see which way the tide's moving.

1
Eric9Points 24 Jan 2019
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Things move on.

> I personally try and avoid Amazon though. There's several independent climbing shops online that could have delivered a mat next day.

> I'd rather support them online or in a real shop.


Yep.

I buy online every month or so but never have to use Amazon.

afx22 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

I try and buy mail order from shops I like (Needle Sports, Outside, Climbers Shop etc) where I can, if the price is good or close to good.

I'll resort to Amazon if I can't get it elsewhere at a decent price and within a reasonable period of time.  I do wish they'd pay more tax though.

Bob Kemp 24 Jan 2019
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

Things do move, yes, but where to? Online retail seems to be winning, although it doesn't appear to have quite as much of the market as we often think (saw that the other week, can't remember the source, sorry...). The central problem is the monopoly position that Amazon has achieved, so using a range of other online suppliers is definitely a good idea, but probably not a long-term solution. And it doesn't solve the problem of what the town and city centres are going to be for in the future. Not just nail bars and bookies I hope...

 

Martin W 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> it doesn't solve the problem of what the town and city centres are going to be for in the future. Not just nail bars and bookies I hope...

Not at all.  There's charity shops (pay nothing for stock and get preferential rents & rates - a business plan to die for?), 21st century pawnbrokers like Cash Generators and Cex, tattoo parlours and (ironically) laser tattoo removal places (I've never seen anywhere that offers both services from the same premises, can't imagine why).

Actually, the fastest growing use for retail premises near where I work seems to be barber shops.  (As in places to get your hair cut, not male close harmony singing groups.)

ianstevens 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

 So what can a poor boy do? 

Use one of many other companies that will still deliver next-day but actually pay a fair share of tax?

 

yesbutnobutyesbut 24 Jan 2019
In reply to ianstevens:

>  So what can a poor boy do? 

> Use one of many other companies that will still deliver next-day but actually pay a fair share of tax?


And I'll bet that Employees at Outside, Needlesports, Urbanrock etc are treated way better than Amazon treat thier staff.

galpinos 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

I'd buy the book from my local bookshop (it's a mere 5 minute walk and they are lovely in there) and by the mat, probably online, from a bricks and mortar shop than has an online presence. It's not much of a dilemma.

Neil Williams 24 Jan 2019
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> And I'll bet that Employees at Outside, Needlesports, Urbanrock etc are treated way better than Amazon treat thier staff.


The irony is that Amazon is both a threat to small business and a benefit to them at the same time by providing an easy online sales platform for even the smallest business or individual (alongside more specialist things like eBay if you're selling cheap tat and Etsy if you're selling craft type items).

Bob Kemp 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Martin W:

Ha, yes, what a great range of services we'll have! 

Dax H 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Martin W:

>tattoo parlours and (ironically) laser tattoo removal places (I've never seen anywhere that offers both services from the same premises, can't imagine why).

Last time I got tattooed there was a laser removal suite in the shop. A guy was having something removed whilst I was there and screaming the place down. Apparently it can hurt Realy bad. 

 

captain paranoia 24 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Also went to get my mat from the garage for a spot of bouldering. Duh, not there. Lost it

You lost a bouldering mat...?

Have you checked in the gap between the cushions on the sofa...?

SteveX 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The irony is that Amazon is both a threat to small business and a benefit to them at the same time by providing an easy online sales platform for even the smallest business or individual

 

Amazon charges around 20% for a small trader, though as you sell more that can reduce.
When a person lists something on Amazon, they list every detail, colours, descriptions, sizes, and crucially IBN numbers which to me and you is barcodes. This is like a wiki for amazon, and a win win situation.

I say a win win because if the retailer just sells a few, Amazon gets 20% of the gross. ie Retailer buys for £100 and sells for £200, and makes £100, amazon gets £40. Plus amazon gets people through its website with all the benefits of that to a platform such as traffic and data. Also they sell services to the retailer such as fufillment and card processing.

I say wiki, because if the retailer has latched onto a winner, they have input all the data, and then its easy for Amazon to source the product themselves and set up in competition to the retailer, using its Prime Service to give better delivery, and generally it can achieve a better price than the small guy, leaving the small retailer with profit slowly reducing.

 

Xharlie 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Actually, it was LD Mountain Centre, link via Amazon.

Seriously. DON'T DO THIS. If you find something on Amazon Marketplace that's actually sold by an independent retailer, take the effort to open up a new tab and go buy direct from that retailer.

You will pay the same price (excepting discounts and coupons, etc) because Amazon's terms and conditions say that independent retailers who also sell via the Amazon Marketplace may not sell the same products, elsewhere, for less. The difference is that you'll be cutting Amazon out of the loop. They won't take their unearned cut.

If you want to support independents, go direct to the independent sellers.

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BnB 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

> Seriously. DON'T DO THIS. If you find something on Amazon Marketplace that's actually sold by an independent retailer, take the effort to open up a new tab and go buy direct from that retailer.

> You will pay the same price (excepting discounts and coupons, etc) because Amazon's terms and conditions say that independent retailers who also sell via the Amazon Marketplace may not sell the same products, elsewhere, for less. The difference is that you'll be cutting Amazon out of the loop. They won't take their unearned cut.

It isn't unearned. Amazon is providing an advertising service to the retailer that is free right up until the moment a trade is made, at which point a small cut is taken. No deal, no fee. Seems reasonable enough. Particularly when you consider that the costs of SEO and of the platform are borne by Amazon, not the retailer.

 

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LastBoyScout 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

I find myself buying more and more online because of the frustration of my local shops not having the size/colour I want in stock.

I know how shops are under pressure to stock a big range and just don't have the space to stock every possible option (and I've worked in a couple of shops, so I know behind the scenes), but it's no less frustrating when I'm the customer after something.

I do use the retailer's own websites and try and do click and collect to the local branch if at all possible/practical. I only use Amazon as an absolute last resort.

girlymonkey 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

I choose online shopping over the high street. The high street is full of people walking slowly, chuggers, JWs etc and then when you do get near the shops they never have what you want anyway. The one shop I enjoy going into our high street for is one that is a local artisan shop. It is run by a group of local artisans and sells beautiful things. It's the sort of place that makes a town worth going to. I have no need to go into M&S, topshop, primark etc. They are the same everywhere and most of the stuff is awful. 

I can search for the thing I need online without having to look at all the things I don't want to find it. I can compare prices and delivery options etc and then I can try it on at home rather than in an awkward wee changing cubicle with funny lighting and funny mirrors. If it's no good, the post office is 3 minutes walk away to return it.

We don't have any real outdoor shops in our town, so outdoor stuff is ordered online anyway.

Pekkie 25 Jan 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

> You lost a bouldering mat...?

Embarrassing but true. I've reached the doddering old git stage of life. I don't always take a mat bouldering as by now I know what I can do/can't do. Must have gone off to another part of the crag, got into conversation and...

 

1
SteveX 25 Jan 2019
In reply to BnB:

> Seems reasonable enough. Particularly when you consider that the costs of SEO and of the platform are borne by Amazon, not the retailer.

The problem is that Amazon exsternalise many costs, such as the societal costs that a Bricks and Mortar Local shop would have incurred via Business rates, Corporation tax etc.

Its the way things are going, and its a brave new world.
Retail and Retail Banking are going through what Agriculture, Cotton, Manufacturing, Mining went through. We are still picking up the pieces from that in Burnley, Bacup, Ravensthorpe, the list can go on and on. Just wait until self driving cars start making all those Taxi Drivers, Van Drivers and Wagon drivers redundant.

LeeWood 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Lots of online stores lure you with 24hrs delivery but it rarely happens, and do you really need it anyway ? Good things are worth waiting for.

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captain paranoia 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Must have gone off to another part of the crag, got into conversation and...

Yay! Crag swag...

Bellie 25 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Me (to me):   'Its such a shame that we might lose these department stores and High Street shops. It won't be the same when they're gone.  What's going to happen to our Town Centres that are already struggling.'

Also me (to me): 'But you hate shopping and have probably only been into town three times in the last year.  They aren't going to survive on your trade are they? besides you think its great you can choose what you want online at your convenience without traipsing around all day. You only look it something on a rack and decide you don't really need it.  Clicking a mouse is so much more decisive!'

1
Ridge 25 Jan 2019
In reply to BnB:

> It isn't unearned. Amazon is providing an advertising service to the retailer that is free right up until the moment a trade is made, at which point a small cut is taken. No deal, no fee. Seems reasonable enough. Particularly when you consider that the costs of SEO and of the platform are borne by Amazon, not the retailer.

Perhaps Amazon could claim a tax rebate on this wonderful service they provide to the retailer?

Oh...

1
Luke90 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I can totally see your point here but isn't there a risk that if large numbers of people get into the habit of doing this, it sends an incorrect message to the retailers. They'll see healthy sales through their website and fewer referrals from Amazon, possibly leading them to conclude incorrectly that the Amazon connection isn't benefiting them much, when dropping it would actually really hurt their sales.

Pan Ron 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Amazon cheating on tax...

I'm pretty sure small business cheats on tax too - more harm by thousands of paper cuts than a samurai sword through the neck.  

 

7
Offwidth 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Complete nonsense. A small business is in serious trouble if caught up in tax fraud. Amazon will walk away unscathed with a much smaller proportionate fine for tax evasion, negotiated direct with some of the top people in the revenue, and can exploit massive loopholes for tax avoidance small companies cannot access.

paul mitchell 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Ebay gives one the option to buy from small retailers and suppliers and to get the occasional used bargain.Like ice screws.

Post edited at 16:58
Ciro 27 Jan 2019
In reply to BnB:

> It isn't unearned. Amazon is providing an advertising service to the retailer that is free right up until the moment a trade is made, at which point a small cut is taken. No deal, no fee. Seems reasonable enough. Particularly when you consider that the costs of SEO and of the platform are borne by Amazon, not the retailer.

It's more of a protection racket than an advertising service... They've got such a monopoly that it's more or less a case of "pay us 20% of your sales, or you'll go out of business" and it'll only get worse. They were recently trialling placing their own brand alternative products as premium ads alongside listings you click on. No doubt opting out of such placements will soon be an option that larger retailers can afford but small businesses cannot.

We're killing the small retailers step by step.

Martin Hore 27 Jan 2019
In reply to BnB:

> It isn't unearned. Amazon is providing an advertising service to the retailer that is free right up until the moment a trade is made, at which point a small cut is taken. No deal, no fee. Seems reasonable enough. Particularly when you consider that the costs of SEO and of the platform are borne by Amazon, not the retailer.

I'm not a fan of Amazon, but I tend to agree with this. Using the convenience of shopping on Amazon and then going elsewhere to actually buy direct is not that dissimilar to using the service of a real shop to decide what to buy and then getting it on the internet. 

Yes, the internet is damaging high streets but probably less so than the growth of out of town drive-in malls.  Part of the blame IMO lies with local council planners who encourage the out of town malls rather than encouraging retailers to set up in high streets with adequate cheap parking (controversial I know) and efficient park and ride provision.

Martin

Luke90 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Offwidth:

I think Amazon's biggest advantage is being a multi-national. That makes it fairly easy for them to "shuffle profits around" to ensure that, on paper, they only make significant profits in low-tax countries. A company that's purely based in the UK, even a large one, just doesn't have that advantage. I'm sure loopholes, expensive lawyers, lobbying and even just-the-right-side-of-legal corruption come into it as well but my impression is that all of that is a sideshow compared to just paying low UK tax by ensuring that revenue generated in the UK is largely offset by payments to Amazon subsidiaries in other countries.

Annoyingly, that's much harder to deal with than your average loophole because all companies, and especially multi-nationals, do legitimately have to make lots of foreign payments and codifying which ones are legit and which ones are dodgy is immensely difficult.

charliesdad 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Luke90:

It’s difficult, but there are things Government could do to address the problem;

1 Working with other Governments to harmonise taxes, and close down the tax havens

2 Taxing large corporations on revenue earned instead of profit. 

3 Chasing down the accountants and lawyers who promote tax evasion

it’s not solutions we lack, but the political will to take on the very wealthy.

 

charliesdad 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Luke90:

It’s difficult, but there are things Government could do to address the problem;

1 Working with other Governments to harmonise taxes, and close down the tax havens

2 Taxing large corporations on revenue earned instead of profit. 

3 Chasing down the accountants and lawyers who promote tax evasion

it’s not solutions we lack, but the political will to take on the very wealthy.

 

Bellie 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

I have to say that after shopping quite a bit on Amazon a few years ago, I don't shop much with them now. More than anything I find their website layout quite poor and dated with often average images to support it. Take outdoors shops for example. Most websites now have caught them up and offer a better browsing experience imho. I have a tab full of my favourite shops where I am happy to wander through and see whats about. These are a mix of actual shops with a web presence and online only. All seem to offer a reliable service with plenty of delivery options these days.

Pekkie 27 Jan 2019
In reply to Bellie:

In the past I've used the online outlets of traditional climbing shops such as Joe Brown's, Nevisport and Needlesport for gear like nuts and such. Didn't realise that an outlet like this will deliver a bouldering mat for free. Will check in future! I bought my last pair of boots in Joe Brown's in Capel Curig where I got some good advice. That's where the traditional shop wins out.

1
PeakDJ 28 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Also went to get my mat from the garage for a spot of bouldering. Duh, not there. Lost it. 

Easy things to lose, or just leave at the crag, being tiny and all that ;)

 

Pekkie 28 Jan 2019
In reply to PeakDJ:

Already replied - in my self-deprecating way - to this accusation that only a semi-blind doddering old git could lose a bouldering mat at the crag. I don't always take a mat now as I know what I can do/can't do. Must have got into conversation and... where was I? Ah yes, guilty as charged m'Lud!

1
RomTheBear 28 Jan 2019
In reply to Martin Hore:

Isn’t the out of town mall dying ?

As far as I can tell there is plenty of retail on the high street, it’s just different. Bigger shops are replaced with small convenience franchises, and many shops are replaced by services, such as restaurant, hairdressers etc etc...

All in all not a bad thing. Not to mention that buying online is a lot better for the planet, saves load in transport costs.

Post edited at 19:14
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Pekkie 28 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> All in all not a bad thing. Not to mention that buying online is a lot better for the planet, saves load in transport costs.

Better for the planet? Saves loads in transport costs? What about the convoys of white delivery vans choking the roads? And their drivers on slave wages?

 

2
RomTheBear 28 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Better for the planet? Saves loads in transport costs? What about the convoys of white delivery vans choking the roads? And their drivers on slave wages?

Well believe or note one van can deliver to dozen of people in one efficient route.

A lot better than having all these people each taking their cars to go to the supermarket.

As for slave wages, well, most delivery drivers will make significantly more money than your typical till assistant.

 

Post edited at 22:39
Pekkie 28 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

Hmmm...You've almost convinced me. Has anyone done a proper study of the impact of delivery vans v people shopping by car? On the drivers, I assume most are self-employed and that after you've taken off fuel, insurance, running costs etc their income can't be that high. Don't know enough to comment.

Graeme Alderson 28 Jan 2019
In reply to PeakDJ:

Yeah but you are getting on a bit DJ

Graeme Alderson 28 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Well believe or note one van can deliver to dozen of people in one efficient route.

But what about when on my small street (20 houses) we often get 3 or 4 different supermarket vans delivering relatively small amounts every day. And we are less than 2 miles from any even vaguely major supermarket.

 

RomTheBear 28 Jan 2019
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

> But what about when on my small street (20 houses) we often get 3 or 4 different supermarket vans delivering relatively small amounts every day. And we are less than 2 miles from any even vaguely major supermarket.

Those vans deliver may well deliver small amounts but will depart from the supermarket full. Using fairly basic data analytics it’s pretty easy to forecast demand to maximise efficiency and make sure they just have the right number of vans.

In any case a lot more efficient than all these people each taking their individual cars to go to said supermarket and come back: think about it, even if the van served only three/four customers it would already be more efficient in most cases.

Graeme Alderson 29 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

But your model ignores punters driving past their fave supermarket on their way home. Eg in Sheffield Waitrose is o the edge of the city centre on the way back to the affluent quarter so lots (and lots and lots) of punters stop off on their way home. Or like my partner works at Sainsburys so we buy more than expected from there as it is mega easy (though not cheaper as she isn't Sainsburys staff).

It is a very complicated equation involving all sorts of things from corp tax to PAYE tax to Business Rates to food miles to road congestion to.. to.. to.. to..

 

RomTheBear 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

> But your model ignores punters driving past their fave supermarket on their way home. Eg in Sheffield Waitrose is o the edge of the city centre on the way back to the affluent quarter so lots (and lots and lots) of punters stop off on their way home. Or like my partner works at Sainsburys so we buy more than expected from there as it is mega easy (though not cheaper as she isn't Sainsburys staff).

Better, don’t take your car to go to work, use public transport, and use delivery for your shopping.

Presumably those ordering online shopping either don’t have a car , don’t drive to work, or simply don’t have to time to do their shopping.

Personally I always used online delivery for the only reason that I had no time to go to a big shop, except on the WE, and during the WE I’d rather do something else than going to a mall with a bunch of zombies consumers.

Post edited at 00:17
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cap'nChino 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Library for the book?

PeakDJ 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

> Yeah but you are getting on a bit DJ

True that.

PeakDJ 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

> Already replied - in my self-deprecating way - to this accusation that only a semi-blind doddering old git could lose a bouldering mat at the crag. I don't always take a mat now as I know what I can do/can't do. Must have got into conversation and... where was I? Ah yes, guilty as charged m'Lud!

Ah - hadn't seen the earlier reply.  I see how that could happen...especially as someone who spends half my life searching for my car keys....  

Siward 29 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> As for slave wages, well, most delivery drivers will make significantly more money than your typical till assistant.

But many of these delivery drivers for Amazon etc are not employed as such but use their own vehicle on derisory piecework rates and no holiday  sick pay, pension or the like either. There's a huge army of drivers outside of ups, dpd, yodel etc. 

Pekkie 29 Jan 2019
In reply to cap'nChino:

> Library for the book?

Good suggestion! Except the Corpy closed down the local library (fact check - Liverpool Council one of those most hammered by Tory Austerity) and the nearest one now is a good car ride away. And the book was a little obscure and they might not have it or it might be loaned out. And..what?... can't find my library card...and where have those damn car keys gone... 

1
Pekkie 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Siward:

> But many of these delivery drivers for Amazon etc are not employed as such but use their own vehicle on derisory piecework rates and no holiday  sick pay, pension or the like either. There's a huge army of drivers outside of ups, dpd, yodel etc. 

That's what I thought. A huge army of slaves picking a new kind of cotton...

1
RomTheBear 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Siward:

> But many of these delivery drivers for Amazon etc are not employed as such but use their own vehicle on derisory piecework rates and no holiday  sick pay, pension or the like either. There's a huge army of drivers outside of ups, dpd, yodel etc. 

I’m all for better working conditions for them, and paying more for delivery. In fact it would be very easy if they unionised and proper labour market regulation.

 

Post edited at 11:31
Jimbo C 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

Love it or hate it, internet retail is going to stick around and continue to put high street retailers in trouble. The big question in my mind is what will be the function of our urban areas now that more and more people are able to shop at home (and also work at home). Will we see urban decay and a re-population of rural areas or will towns and cities change from places of retail and work to places of entertainment and socialising. I suppose this is already happening in some areas, for example the number of coffee shops is on the rise. Maybe smaller specialist retailers will take over where the big retailers leave gaps, after all there are some purchases and services that can only happen 'In Real Life'. However, the pace of change on-line is a lot faster than the pace of change of our building fabric.

Gordon Stainforth 29 Jan 2019
In reply to Jimbo C:

Yes ... in the small rural town where I live there has been a burgeoning of coffee shops and good value restaurants (there are now at least eight). Plus about 5 pubs are selling half decent meals. Other shops: convenience stores/corner shops: 4. One fruiterer/greengrocer seems to be hanging in OK. One 'white goods' store. 3 chemists. 3 charity shops. One separate Oxfam bookshop (absolutely superb, really well run). And one truly excellent Home/Household/DIY shop (Wilkos). One good outdoor/hillwalking clothing shop. And of course take-away food (at least three) Plus many others that are of less interest to me. Not many empty at present.

Toerag 31 Jan 2019
In reply to Jimbo C:

> Will we see urban decay and a re-population of rural areas or will towns and cities change from places of retail and work to places of entertainment and socialising. I suppose this is already happening in some areas, for example the number of coffee shops is on the rise.

The thing is, will people bother going out just for coffee? I believe the coffee is normally ancilliary to some shopping, no matter how minor the shopping is "I've got to go into town to buy a present for xxx, fancy a coffee after?"

The New NickB 31 Jan 2019
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Isn’t the out of town mall dying ?

I’m not sure, I’ve not got trading figures to hand, but the mega malls such as the Trafford Centre and Westfield seem to be quite healthy. What are struggling are the covered shopping centres that are either in towns or maybe on the edge of towns, which come from an earlier retail revolution. Many of these centres are now basketcases. Retail parks are also struggling, unless they have a major supermarket anchor and even sometime still. These are theoretically easier to deal with, through work, I’ve just bought a retail park, half of which will be developed as housing as might the other half as leases expire. We need to look at concentrating what retail survives in town centres, but also look at residential, cultural and leisure offer (even heath and education) to take up the space that is left by shrinking retail footprint.

RomTheBear 31 Jan 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

> I’m not sure, I’ve not got trading figures to hand, but the mega malls such as the Trafford Centre and Westfield seem to be quite healthy. What are struggling are the covered shopping centres that are either in towns or maybe on the edge of towns, which come from an earlier retail revolution. Many of these centres are now basketcases. Retail parks are also struggling, unless they have a major supermarket anchor and even sometime still. These are theoretically easier to deal with, through work, I’ve just bought a retail park, half of which will be developed as housing as might the other half as leases expire. We need to look at concentrating what retail survives in town centres, but also look at residential, cultural and leisure offer (even heath and education) to take up the space that is left by shrinking retail footprint.

Exactly. And that’s what’s happening as far as I can tell.

Moondancer 31 Jan 2019
In reply to Pekkie:

There is some research into the comparative environmental/climate impact of delivery vans vs people going to the shops, but it's complex because of a number of factors, such as distance travelled (people tend to travel further to buy non-food items); people making trips into town only to find that what they want is sold out; delivery vans unable to deliver items when people aren't home; and people returning items (returns for online good are about 4x higher for things bought in store). In most cases, online delivery has a lower climate impact than driving into town and a similar impact to taking a bus into town. Using a local collection point, and for the consumer to walk there to collect their parcel, will often be the option with the lowest environmental impact.

Pekkie 31 Jan 2019
In reply to Jimbo C:

> Love it or hate it, internet retail is going to stick around and continue to put high street retailers in trouble. The big question in my mind is what will be the function of our urban areas now that more and more people are able to shop at home (and also work at home). Will we see urban decay and a re-population of rural areas or will towns and cities change from places of retail and work to places of entertainment and socialising.

For smaller town centres where I live (Merseyside) the trend is towards specialist shops and restaurants/craft pub outlets, especially where the centre has an interesting historic/conservation area ambience. In Prescot, for instance, an army of local entrepeneurs are setting up trendy restaurants in anticipation of an influx of tourists to the proposed Shakespearan Theatre in the North. Look to what the local lad or lass with a wad of notes in their back pocket (hopefully legally earned!) are putting their money into. Planners have sometimes tried to resist this trend but have generally fallen into line in the end. You can't buck an economic trend in retail and planners have to be quick on their feet to cope. Sometimes it might mean demolishing shops or allowing them to be converted to residential - for my local centre (Woolton) the main bank has just been converted into a pizza joint. And whenever I walk by it's rammed to the rafters.

 


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