The Full English Accompaniment – High Street Horrorshow

What’s piqued my interest this week?

What is happening to the British High St? Does a FIRE advocate really care?
For years now I’ve been buying things through the internet. It’s significantly cheaper, and totting up my purchases I reckon at least 50% is via Amazon/ eBay or other online retailers. I only go into town to shop if I need SOMETHING NOW, which points to piss poor planning, or if I’m after inspiration. Massive distribution centres like the one below and same day delivery means that the failure of planning is less of an issue too:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/apr/15/shed-the-size-of-town-what-britains-giant-distribution-centres-tell-us-about-modern-life

So what the hell is the High St for?

That seems to be a question plaguing retailers, with lots on the wane. Just in the last month we’ve had Poundworld shrinking (debate as to this being a bad thing), House of Fraser calling in KPMG, Debenhams and Mothercare issuing profit warnings, to add to the folding of Maplins and Toys ‘R’ Us:

Poundworld adds to retail gloom – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43908423

House of Fraser calls in KPMG to draw up turnaround plan -http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43828629

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retail-profit-warnings-on-high-street-reach-seven-year-high-fjhpnsdg2

The ONS is blaming this on the snow:

UK economy in weakest growth since 2012 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43919094

Which I think makes about as much sense as blaming Stalin for the current Tory government. Tenuous.

It feels to be part of a wider consumerism shift towards online and digital usage and away from browsing shops in town. Banks are moving this way too, with Lloyds shutting a string of branches:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43802021

Incidentally, I recommend going back and listening to a recent Radio 4 Moneybox where they interview an RBS executive about the closure of rural RBS banks. His summary is no matter how much people complain about wanting local banks, small branches being important etc, RBS are following people’s actions not words. People aren’t going into branch anymore. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09x8qq5

This weeks news that Asda and Sainsbury are considering merging is also interesting.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43933517

They talk of a shake up from what they call ‘the discounters’ Aldi and Lidl. I predominantly shop at the Aldidl, but this is made possible because of online purchasing of things not held in stock. Shopping there is going in, knowing what you want, getting it, paying as little as possible and leaving.

Is the business model for the High St changing? The following article from the BBC makes a lots of sense:

Why shopping needs to be more fun – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43813154

And the turnaround at Waterstone’s seems to mirror the picture that in order to survive, businesses on the High St have to change to provide something not available online. A personal touch to sales, or something more? Toys ‘R’ Us and Maplins were late to that party. Mothercare, House of Fraser and Debenhams seem to be waiting in invitations.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/03/balancing-the-books-how-waterstones-returned-to-profit

Big changes in the nature of the retail market matter to FIRE advocates, as like any market, diversification means you probably have a toe dipped in these investments. If you’re lucky it’s one of the clued up retailers. Either way, this is just the musing of one bored professional.

Happy weekend!

The FIRE Shrink

Side orders:

This week I’ve mainly been reading new blogs.

I’ve been learning about basic investing with the diy investor (uk) – http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.co.uk/p/basics.html

And of course Monevator’s passive investing – http://monevator.com/category/investing/passive-investing-investing/

YoungFIGuy’s guide to Safe Withdrawal Rates – https://youngfiguy.com/safe-withdrawal-rate

And more domestically, cheap eats from Frugal Feeding – http://frugalfeeding.com/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s