Companies That You Expect to Disappear Soon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by whhistle, 22 Mar 2018.

  1. whhistle

    whhistle On Moderation

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    With the news that high street chain "Claire's" is entering into Administration, what other companies do you expect to disappear soon?

    Those were the days with Index, Littlewoods, BHS, Woolworths, Virgin Megastores (and there Z replacement?).

    Game is certainly one I expect will go at some point.
    The Entertainer perhaps.
    I wonder if some mobile phone shops will go too? But they're good for people who have problems.

    The likes of Carphone Warehouse, Argos - all cowering together with parent companies help them survive. But saying that, I can still see both of them going.
     
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  3. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    I’m still astonished WH Smith has survived for as long as it has.
     
  4. nlogax

    nlogax Established Member

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    I'm often amazed that Currys is still in business. On the very rare occasion that I've had reason to go in one it's been like a morgue. If it wasn't for the presence of someone cleaning the floors there'd have been actual tumbleweeds.
     
  5. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    I've seen a lot of staff in a certain high street (former Dixons) Currys-PC World recently. I would call it retail theatre in the good sense of the word; even if I don't buy from the store I have still gone to the website and bought the product there. More so since the carrier bag charge.

    Oh wait, is the carrier bag charge a factor in the loss of shops?
     
  6. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    In fairness, The Entertainer have relatively compact stores (rather than the warehouse-sized Toys'r'Us megastores).

    Plus they do put on a level of entertainment - there's often a member of staff at the door "demonstrating" a toy, which makes it quite a fun retail experience, somewhere that kids want to visit. Little touches too, like the steps at the till, so that kids can step up and pay for their toys themselves, colourful shops.

    If you gave a kid the option of The Entertainer versus Argos/ Tesco then they'd go for the former.

    Agreed.

    WH Smith is in that awkward middle ground where it's not really best at anything. If I want a bookshop I go to Waterstones. If I want a stationers I go to Rymans/ Staples. If I want specialist information I go online, rather than buying a magazine that was published the previous week. If I want a magazine/ newspaper then they cost the same at other shops, so there's no advantage to Smiths. If I want toys or DVDs then there are much better retailers for those things too.

    As I said on the Toys'r'Us thread, there's a danger to being in the middle ground, where you aren't the first choice destination for anything. Toys'r'Us weren't as cheap as Amazon or as fun as The Entertainer or as convenient as the large toy selection in large supermarkets.

    BHS weren't as cheap as Primark or as upmarket as M&S or as specialist as a Long Tall Sally/ Evans/ Jacamo (etc).

    JJB closed because they were caught up in the middle of Sports Direct (cheap), JD (trendy), Go Outdoors/ Decathlon/Blacks (specialist equipment).

    To succeed, you need to be the best at something - however niche - once customers are inside your shop then they'll likely pick up other things - you need to give people a reason to visit, rather than just being there. Nobody would go out of their way to somewhere like BHS/ JJB, which is why they eventually failed.

    Boots is fairly middle ground - not as cheap as Superdrug/ Savers/ Bodycare and not as luxurious as some specialist "beauty" places (e.g. in department stores) - they have to rent some huge retail space for their shops but a lot of it is filled with things like sandwiches and gifts as it becomes harder to stay competitive in the "shampoo" market.

    I can see Waterstones/ HMV surviving, simply because they are the last shops in town to do what they do - they are the best bookshop/ record shop because they are the only bookshop/ record shop - so at least there's a need to visit.

    Maybe the next one will be Mothercare - since a lot of kids things can be bought in supermarkets now. But they have the advantage that they are a "safe" place for inexperienced parents who don't know the first thing about which buggy to buy, and a "nice" place for grandparents choosing cutesy outfits (that would have been a lot cheaper in Primark).

    Much as I love shopping in CEX, I'm not sure about the longer term future for a company relying on second hand DVDs/ games, now so much is streamed. People will still buy the physical products that they love (in HMV etc), but CEX kind of rely on the people who like things and then discard them - and such people are much more suited to Netflix / Play Station Network etc.

    The aficionados will keep buying the originals in places like HMV but they won't sell them at CEX for a quarter of what they originally paid - much of the stock in CEX is from five/ten years ago now - so I don't know what they can do to turn that around. Focus on the second hand electronics? Game will suffer too, but at least people will need Game to buy original products - and they have diversified into toys/ clothing/ merchandise.

    It's easy to say that there appear to be too many phone shops (there certainly do to me) - they face the additional problem that phones from five years ago are still about good enough - you wouldn't want a five year old phone in 2003 or 2008 but smart phones got to a level that was good enough for most people about five years ago, so there's less *need* for the latest version.

    If you are a serious gamer or photographer then an iphone 5 will seem archaic but to Joe Public it does most things that an iphone X does, so there becomes less need to keep upgrading, so less need for mobile phone shops that relied on us changing our phones every twelve/ twenty four months.
     
  7. londonbridge

    londonbridge Member

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    That's my position, still using a 5s, I have never been the sort to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading every time a new model comes out and see no reason to upgrade unless and untill it no longer does what I want it to do.
     
  8. Up_Tilt_390

    Up_Tilt_390 Member

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    If it helps, the name of the Virgin Megastores replacement was Zavvi.

    To be fair though, being the last shop in town to do what they do isn’t the only thing that makes Waterstones great. It has a great variety of books, comics, novels and board games. All my recent book purchases were from Waterstones, and I don’t think I’ll be looking elsewhere before them in future. It does exactly what you said it needs to do to succeed, which is basically be best at something. If it goes down I will be very surprised...
     
  9. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

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  10. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    I can see WH Smiths reducing in size on the high street, however they will keep a presence in stations/airports as those are captive markets (especially the ones after security where they can get away with charging £4.99 for a meal deal when it was £3.69 the other side of the gates).

    Agreed with CEX, physical releases are slowing down (a good example would be walking into your local supermarket and comparing the size of the entertainment section now to what it was ~ 3 years ago, most likely it would have decreased in size, with a few of those "100 hits - X" 5CD collections. I can see them slowly moving away from DVDs/Games (and even CDs in the places which still accept them) and more into hardware, reducing sizes of stores etc
     
  11. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I can't see Currys/PC World going. The PC World side of things still has an element of specialism, and IME they have improved a bit over the last decade from the days when Currys were a bit of a cowboy outfit.
     
  12. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Likewise. Maybe the rose-tinted spectacles are coming out, however the WH Smith of today is a far cry from what I remember in the 1990s. Nowadays their shops are a tip, their range appears muddled, I can buy the same magazines from supermarkets during food shopping, and everything else is massively overpriced. Wouldn't be in the slightest bit sorry to see WH Smith disappear -- in fact I try to avoid them as far as possible, preferring to use local independent newsagents instead.
     
  13. trash80

    trash80 Established Member

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    Yeah you can buy the same magazines elsewhere, if you like a smallish number of mass market publications. Want anything more specialist or niche (like most railway magazines) and you have to go to Smiths. If they went down it would kill off scores of magazines.
     
  14. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    I don't know if it's just the ones local to me, but they seem to be spreading themselves a bit thin. They sell Airfix kits for example. If I wanted an Airfix kit, I wouldn't think of going to Waterstones.
     
  15. beeza1

    beeza1 Member

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    Quite a few W H Smith's now have a branch of the Post Office in store, this I presume has saved some of the branches from closure.
    I can't see Currys going soon, in quite a few smaller towns, especially the ones that don't have a John Lewis, they are the only retailers of electrical goods, buying online is not for everybody, I actually like to "see" the product before purchase.
     
  16. Smethwickian

    Smethwickian Member

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    Agree with tbtc and Trash80's comments regarding WHSmith.
    They've just moved to a smaller main store in Birmingham city centre and it's more cramped and untidy than ever.
    Their only range that's not done bigger and better by individual specialists - like the bookshops, stationers and greeting card chains already mentioned - is fairly specialist magazines and newspapers, but WHSmith seems determined in many branches to make their display as crowded, confused, unattractive and off-putting as possible.
     
  17. greyman42

    greyman42 On Moderation

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    I prefer W.H.Smiths to Waterstones for books as they always seem to have an offer on, such as buy one get second half price. Waterstones never seem to do this.
     
  18. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Mainly because Comet isn't there. I hate Currys and that restricts me to Richer Sounds in Manchester or TV/Laptops Direct in Huddersfield.
     
  19. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Where I am this used to be the case, however Tesco now stock pretty much anything that WH Smith sells - and generally they're better presented and aren't in a cramped aisle with people getting in the way using the store as a reading room. I've also noticed Tesco often seem to get the publications in a day or two earlier.
     
  20. klambert

    klambert Established Member

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    I currently work in a WHSmith post office, I tend to find we generate the most activity in the shop, the rest of it is pretty barren. Also with a lot of High Street banks closing, we're increasingly getting used for banking especially by small businesses, so the Post Office I think will be around for a while at least. If WHSmith were to go under that would leave many towns like Aldershot (where I work) without a Post Office at all.

    Although saying that some stores in places like Guildford and Reading always seem to be busy. I do see what various users have commented though, the stores are pretty scruffy.
    There'll probably be a massive retraction of shops but the ones in airports and stations will be retained, I don't think there'll go into receivership though.

    The WHSmiths in London do well though as they're often the cheapest places to get stuff.

    I reckon Paperchase may go down the toilet and Boots.
     
    Last edited: 22 Mar 2018
  21. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    Another vote for Argos I’m afraid.

    I went into one recently to buy bathroom scales and was astounded to find the set up is still exactly the same as the last time I visited in the late 90s. To be fair it seemed pretty busy.

    I hope they survive but it’s difficult to see how they can compete with online businesses.
     
  22. pdq

    pdq Member

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    Have to agree with WHS. Their stores need some serious investment to bring in newer styles of shopfitting, lighting etc. I went into my local one a few weeks ago and it was a depressing place with half-functioning fluorescent tubes and a general cramped, unkempt feel. Going upstairs I had to navigate a cardboard display coming apart, tatty carpet and peeling wallpaper; then there was absolutely no-one there to answer a query I had. I left without buying anything.

    At least Boots seem to have a brighter ambience, and will be many people's first and trusted choice for medicines and general pharmacy advice. They still have a good reputation for photo printing etc, and are more ubiquitous than Max Spielman.
     
  23. Dentonian

    Dentonian Established Member

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    I don't know why the have landside stores at Airports - at least outside the South East. Their prices are far higher than the competition (Boots, Greggs and even Spar) for food/drink and what's the point of selling London Tourist Board stuff in an International Terminal at a Regional Airport?
     
  24. thejuggler

    thejuggler Member

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    Don’t know if it still the case but it used to be that 80+% of people entering Argos knew what they wanted.

    It is still my first port of call if I need something quickly because they are an online business. I reserve online and pick up in store. Last purchase was a new multimeter a few weeks ago.
     
  25. Iskra

    Iskra Established Member

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    Boots is a popular shop, especially with women (I'm guessing this forum is male-dominated hence the apathy). They've just opened a new store on a retail park near me and it has been very busy during the first two days, I expect it to do well.

    GAME, I can see having problems so a good call, it provides nothing you can't get online. House of Fraser seems to be in trouble too. WHSmiths is still in the 1980's so another good shout.
     
  26. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Debenhams. Dead in the water. Be surprised if they see out the decade.

    Disagree with the WHSmith views above. They are essentially a newsagent / convenience store. Their corporate strategy is to slowly withdraw from the high street (except for the most profitable stores), where convenience is largely dealt with by others. However they are building up their travel business in stations and airports, where margins are higher, and where it is easier to get economy of scale in product range and distribution. It’s about 2/3 of their operation now. They also have a burgeoning international division.
     
  27. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Can't agree about Debenhams - I know a lot of people who buy their clothes from there.

    You may well be right about WHS focussing in the travel side, although again personally I wouldn't use them even if they were the last convenience store left on or near a station! But evidently many do, even if they're being heavily fleeced IMO.
     
  28. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    Fair enough. I did it old fashioned way of leafing through the catalogue in store, choosing the item, writing the number on a ticket etc.

    If they’ve embraced “click and collect” perhaps that explains their survival.
     
  29. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Look at the relative share prices. WHSmith is 3 times higher than it was 5 years ago. Debenhams’ is about a fifth of what it was in the same timescale.

    Debenhams has some big competitors that are better - John Lewis, Next, even House of Fraser. Their online offer is improving but way behind the competition. I was in a Debenhams last Saturday afternoon - what you would think is peak time - and there were at least 3 times as many staff as customers.
     
  30. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Argos is now a division of Sainsbury’s. Effectively it will become the consumer goods (non clothing) arm of Sainsbury’s. The strategy seems to be to make use of spare back of house capacity in Sainsbury’s stores for the Argos back of house warehouse. Then subsume the Sainsbury’s consumer goods offer (which was traditionally not as good as Tesco or Asda) into that. Then close any Argos stores near Sainsbury’s stores. Combine some of the logistics. Big cost savings, same revenue.

    Seems to be working well from what I’ve seen.

    Incidentally I can’t remeber the last time Family BR used an Argos when we didn’t click and collect. Must be at least a decade ago.

    .
     
  31. trash80

    trash80 Established Member

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    Including me! However i can't remember the last time i went to my one and the customers outnumbered the staff...
     

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