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9 june 2018, if nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

One of our biggest treats as kids was a trip to kendals, then manchester's only posh shop. Though spared the chop this week as house of fraser announced half their stores closing, it crossed my mind I've not taken my own kids there once in the ten years we've been here. John lewis is closer, fresher and has that umbilical link to our desktops. The youngest wouldn't go anyway, his retail is all online, like supreme, which, astoundingly, just anchored a top paris auction. Recognising the internet is killing the high street is not new: I did it myself in 2012, noting that many more would go the way of travel agents and video shops, and so they have, the casualty list now deeply mainstream. If woolworths was a shock for many, bhs, toys r us and dixons were greeted more with a what-took-them-so-long. Now joining the likes of mothercare and debenhams on the near-dead list are middling food outlets like prezzo and jamie's italian. The reasons for all this are well-rehearsed. Out of town retail parks, lack of investment and innovation, wage depression in less well-off areas and chains like m&s trading on their legacy have all supplemented t'internet in slicing sales and profits. However, omnichannel success stories like jd sports and river island show there are responses, as do clever local councils shrinking retail into smaller areas and more pro-actively bringing life and experience back to town centres, though it's much easier where there's money around and high concentrations of people. Levelling the playing field with online through reducing business rates would help a lot. Meanwhile better airports, train stations and big shopping centres are thriving, as are festivals and markets, again showing that if retailers can collaboratively create experience to attract footfall, they can turn it into sales. As with so many commercial evolutions, shops aren't dying, they are changing. Those that adapt quickest will profit, the laggards lose out. Meanwhile I'm jumping on amazon to buy that hook I need to hang a plate on the wall...

Attached File: ARTCURIAL_C.R.E.A.M.PDF