The Death Of The High Street

There is an interesting article in today’s Guardian about how more than 20,000 high street jobs have been lost. It is nothing new; we have been hearing about the financial struggle for a while now. But it got me thinking about my own high street and how only a small selection of shops still remain from my childhood.

According to the article, last month families had £60 less to spend on shopping compared to last year. This is due to the 5.2% inflation  that is the highest in three years. Consumers will therefore shop for the better deals and usually these do come from the bigger chain  stores. For example, a pint of milk from Tesco is 10p cheaper than at my corner shop. With a lack of sales there is only two options: Shut down or cut staff/wages. Part-time workers are now  at an all time high as a result.
It isn’t just these individual  shops that are finding it difficult in the financial crisis. Big names such as Mothercare and Thorntons are in talks to scale back on their high street presence. Both of these companies found a niche in the  market when they first opened and are household names. Like the stores from my childhood, it would be devastating to see them disappear from the retail world altogether. But then again, both aren’t providing something no one else can. It is the Tescos and Asdas of the market that will take over the whole high street, selling absolutely everything from clothes, to furniture, to Tvs. Tesco now even sell cars.
So when I walk down my high street, I don’t see the old card shop or pet shop. I see a mass of charity shops or Poundlands, both eclipsed by an overshadowing Tesco Extra. And that isn’t even the Tesco from my childhood. It’s expanded.
And with the retail sector having 23,000 less workers in September, it almost makes you want to beg these companies to slow down and think for a moment from the public’s point of view. They are increasing the unemployment in our areas. Although, they could argue their expansion will create jobs. But what they cannot argue is that they are destroying  one of the most fundamental parts of the high street: the ability to have choice.

2 Responses

  1. I agree! my highstreet is nothing like it was when I was younger. As you say the larger chain stores are taking over and the little corner shops that were more traditional have been replaced.
    I know that these large stores are great oppertunities for employment, especially in the current finiancial climate but I feel they have suddenly come over us without the public even realising.
    I liked the fact that you could travel to different towns and always find a shop you had never heard of, but these days everywhere has the same. The larger franchaise stores are great for deals and bargains, epecially from a student viewpoint but i did enjoy the traditional one of a kind shops that are rarely found anymore.

  2. Completely agree!! My local town centre looks practically derelict, still with shops closing up near enough every week (and apparently we’re out of the recession). It is so depressing when a lovely little shop opens up but you just know that within the year they will have closed down.

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