Where’s Woolly ?


Or rather where are the old  Woolworth stores now ? I try to avoid plagiarism (or at least most of the time) but I noticed a short article on the BBC web site that I felt was of interest and by copying pasting told a story without any unneccesary embellishments.


It is sort of good news , in that we readily assume that when a chain such as Woolworths folds, it leaves big holes in the High Street. However , with the likes of BHS and the same will be true with the House of Fraser, there will be larger holes that will not be filled or unlikely to be filled with retailers. It does make you smile, when so-called retail analysts refer to the likes of Woolworths as being much ‘loved’. It’s because they weren’t much-loved that they failed.

I think that what it does illustrate is that Retail environments will continue to evolve. What we see today is very different to ten years ago, as it is was ten years before that and so on. My own little shopping parade of about twenty retail outlets (suburban London) , has gone from losing an original Sainsbury’s to now having a Sainburys local with a thirty-five year gap. The loss of a small department store over thirty years ago , eventually replaced with an electrical store, a beauty salon and a bank (the only bank after having had three).  The last five years having had a lean period where there have been failed restaurants, a closed post office , an iffy wine shop, to now having a very smart deli, two very succesful turkish restaurants, and quite possibly a M&S foodhall.

It’s a bit like the extreme electrical storms that hit the African bush and create huge wild fires. It burns off the old scrub and allows for new growth. Regrettably, our storms, whilst not electric, are rather longer lasting , and do not have the benefit of new growth created by nature. Nonetheless, change happens and there will always be casualties. It is the ability to foresee those changes, adapt and work with the opportunities those changes create. Easier said than done? Sure, but I don’t think you’ll find any successful retailers, in the entire history of ‘shops’ that would say it had been easy .

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