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Why the retail crisis is bad news for teenagers
7:00pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in Business News
IT’S not been a good week to be a 14 year old, writes Rachel Anderson of the North East Chamber of Commerce.
The potential loss of HMV and Blockbuster from the high street will be felt by many, but for a 14 year old, shooed out of the house on a Saturday afternoon, it’s a disaster.
OK, so both businesses face competition from the internet and have issues with their sales model; but, ITunes is rubbish for getting out of the rain, showing off to your mates whilst nonchalantly flipping through early 90’s grunge and, most importantly, seeing and being seen by the opposite sex.
Online movies might be convenient, but you can’t buy the sugar output of a small Caribbean island and ice-cream so lurid it can be seen from space at the same time.
The loss of high street stalwarts is never good news and any administration situation tends to trigger a round of speculation over who’s next – not good for consumer confidence.
There are signs though that the high street is staging something of a fight back. Retailers in local towns are telling us that although Christmas shopping started late, the last two weeks of December were actually rather good.
The public has a finite amount of money to spend and many have chosen to spend it with independents this year that have had a double bite of the cherry if they also have an online presence.
It seems people still want to shop for pleasure and the experience; seeing shopping more as a leisure activity rather than a necessity.
For the family grocery shop and more workaday items such as CDs, price and convenience are king and the large supermarkets and internet will win most times. However, for less mundane items, people still want to touch and try goods, then go have lunch or a coffee and make a day of it. It is in capturing this market and providing the experience rather than the chore where our local towns have a big role to play and where the high street can win out.
While it is never good to see the large chains disappearing, there is a theory that like a large tree falling in a forest, the loss of the multiple creates an opportunity for the independent and the town centre to steal the limelight.
Perhaps 2013 is the year of the independent, the one who can provide for refugee 14 year olds may find customers for life.