Companies That You Expect to Disappear Soon

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Bald Rick

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How so? M&S have been struggling for years
They have been struggling on non food. Doing very well on food and homewares via Home delivery. The latter two are still open, and the food is doing very, very well if my local stores are anything to go by.
 

ainsworth74

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And now I'm going to give myself a slap on the wrist but discussion about airlines has a dedicated thread here in the Covid-19 sub-forum. Please continue the discussion there as it's off-topic here.
 

Kite159

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If anything for M&S they might close some more larger stores which has a larger percentage of non-food, and either moving to smaller units within the town to just have M&S food stores. Mainly those larger stores which have high overheads meaning the profit being made is small.
 

Iskra

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If anything for M&S they might close some more larger stores which has a larger percentage of non-food, and either moving to smaller units within the town to just have M&S food stores. Mainly those larger stores which have high overheads meaning the profit being made is small.
That's basically what they have been moving towards recently anyway. Food sales are probably pretty strong at the moment anyway. When I visited a couple of weeks back they had really good availability of a lot of things you couldn't get in the local Asda. Although the shelves seem to be getting back to normal stock-levels now in supermarkets.
 

Meerkat

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Can’t see Argos going. Low cost model and even lower now they can use floor space Sainsbury’s didn’t want in their big stores and click and collect from town centre Sainsbury’s.
 
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This may have already been posted, but I can see WHSmith going in the next 2 years or so. Their high street stores are a mess, and feel more like a jumble sale. They have been on the decline for years. The sites at railway stations and airports are still very profitable, which is supporting the rest of the company. However with the downturn in travel expected after the pandemic, this could be the final nail in the coffin for them.
 

C J Snarzell

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This may have already been posted, but I can see WHSmith going in the next 2 years or so. Their high street stores are a mess, and feel more like a jumble sale. They have been on the decline for years. The sites at railway stations and airports are still very profitable, which is supporting the rest of the company. However with the downturn in travel expected after the pandemic, this could be the final nail in the coffin for them.
I very much doubt WHSmiths will go as many places now have seen their post offices merge with WHS. The general POs in Lancaster & York can both be found in WHS and the stores themselves are always busy. The fact they seem to sell stuff like confectionery, latest DVD releases, stationery and board games always seems to go down well with most consumers.

CJ
 

61653 HTAFC

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This may have already been posted, but I can see WHSmith going in the next 2 years or so. Their high street stores are a mess, and feel more like a jumble sale. They have been on the decline for years. The sites at railway stations and airports are still very profitable, which is supporting the rest of the company. However with the downturn in travel expected after the pandemic, this could be the final nail in the coffin for them.
They've been a regular on this thread over the years... consensus seems to be that the travel outlets cross-subsidise the high street stores as you say. The Post Office moving into many stores also helps, and may mean they fall into the "too important to fail" category.
 

Tetchytyke

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I very much doubt WHSmiths will go as many places now have seen their post offices merge with WHS. The general POs in Lancaster & York can both be found in WHS and the stores themselves are always busy.
Post Offices are seeing less business, though, which is why the Crown Post Offices were shut. It feels like a sticking plaster for both businesses.

I'm surprised they're not struggling more, especially after demerging the distribution business, but I think they own freehold on many properties and are not particularly highly leveraged.

There is risk to the PE folk, the banks wouldn’t be involved otherwise.
There doesn't appear to be much risk to the PE parasites, as they always walk away with sack loads of cash. The banks get involved because their lending is secured against the assets of the business being leveraged, so there is no risk to them either.

It's the National Insurance fund and the Pensions Regulator who pay for mopping up the mess, councils and landlords who suffer from lost revenue, small suppliers who lose their own business because they don't get paid, and any institutional shareholders (so pension funds) that lose the money.

As for pre-pack administration, don't even get me started about how disgustingly unethical THAT business practice is.
 

Meerkat

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There doesn't appear to be much risk to the PE parasites, as they always walk away with sack loads of cash. The banks get involved because their lending is secured against the assets of the business being leveraged, so there is no risk to them either.
They don’t always walk away with even the cash they started with.
How much business lending is totally covered by assets? This is particularly unlikely if you are also accusing the PE guys of asset stripping as in that case they will have done sale and leaseback on anything they can.
 

tbtc

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I very much doubt WHSmiths will go as many places now have seen their post offices merge with WHS
I think that they are in danger, given the way that the "lockdown" will change a lot of people's habits, but they might not be the only ones.

For example, buying a daily newspaper is a habit forming thing - people like routine - but once you've broken that routine (because you've been stuck in the house), you'll be used to getting the news from elsewhere.

Same with a lot of places selling "treats" - if you had your hair/ nails done every few weeks, but then you've accepted going without such luxuries for a couple of months, you might just accept that you can live without them - same goes for places selling breakfast/lunchtime "treats" to workers - when you've had a few weeks without your £3 coffee habit before work or fancy sandwich at lunchtime (and have possibly dealt with reduced wages for a few weeks), you're going to see demand for such things go down even if/when things go back to "normal".

Some people will flock back, sure, some people are probably craving the regular treats, but I'd be a little nervous if I was banking on everyone getting back to paying for such non-essentials (whether that's a nail bar or a coffee shop or somewhere flogging newspapers)
 

richw

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They've been a regular on this thread over the years... consensus seems to be that the travel outlets cross-subsidise the high street stores as you say. The Post Office moving into many stores also helps, and may mean they fall into the "too important to fail" category.
Several of the WHS in this area are franchises, which probably makes a difference too?
 

philjo

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Page 7 of The business section of Today’s Daily Telegraph mentions that WHS is planning to issue new shares to raise £150m from investors to strengthen its bank balance.

The front page mentions that P&O ferries are at risk unless it gets a cash injection. The Dubai owners are trying to get a deal.
 

SteveP29

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Can’t see Argos going. Low cost model and even lower now they can use floor space Sainsbury’s didn’t want in their big stores and click and collect from town centre Sainsbury’s.
The Argos in my local large Sainsburys may as well not be there, they never have stock, you always reserve and it's not available till 4pm.
Now you can't do that at the moment, you have to pay there and then, guess what, 'your item will be available for collection after 4pm'
Not good when I desperately need printer ink that Sainsbury's had no stock of on their shelves. Ordered via Argos (online, their ordering screens in store are all temporarily closed), come back at 4pm, as it was 10am, do I break the 'only go out once a day' advice or what?
Order cancelled and a 20 minute walk from Sainsburys to Asda and a printer cartridge bought there, no fuss
 
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I'd be surprised if WHS went down. Their international airport/rail/metro presence is strong and C19 in the long view - and no disrespect to the many who are suffering - is, economically, a blip: lockdown will lift, and many will celebrate this by travelling.
 

37424

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The Argos in my local large Sainsburys may as well not be there, they never have stock, you always reserve and it's not available till 4pm.
Now you can't do that at the moment, you have to pay there and then, guess what, 'your item will be available for collection after 4pm'
Not good when I desperately need printer ink that Sainsbury's had no stock of on their shelves. Ordered via Argos (online, their ordering screens in store are all temporarily closed), come back at 4pm, as it was 10am, do I break the 'only go out once a day' advice or what?
Order cancelled and a 20 minute walk from Sainsburys to Asda and a printer cartridge bought there, no fuss
From my previous involvement with Argos and ex colleagues, A lot of Inside Sainsbury's stores are not very big and carry only limited stock. I lot of stock that is reserved online comes from the Large stand alone hub stores and is delivered twice per day usually before 10am and 4pm. Despite the Stand alone stores being closed to the Public, Argos have witnessed massive demand for click and collect and home delivery to a level vastly higher than even their normal busiest period in the run up to Christmas. A a result many inside Sainsbury's stores are struggling to cope with the demand and many employees are not even happy that these stores are still open as it is difficult to observe correct social distancing in the small stock rooms.

On a more general note the setup of Argos business means that they were better placed than many retailers to adapt to an Online Business, footfall in the stores has significantly decreased in recent years hence the closure of some smaller stores and relocation to inside Sainsbury's. While their Home Delivery service has done quite well over the past few years, until recent events there was some evidence to suggest it was starting to struggle against the might of Amazon, and clearly this something that many businesses in the retail sector will have to struggle with.
 

C J Snarzell

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The news today suggest that Debenhams may yet again have another reprieve but they will close another 40 stores across the country. From my neck of the woods - Altrincham & Southport were last year's casualties. I have a feeling they will maintain their larger stores in the likes of Manchester, Liverpool & the Trafford Centre - but most of the market town stores will go.

CJ
 

tbtc

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The news today suggest that Debenhams may yet again have another reprieve but they will close another 40 stores across the country. From my neck of the woods - Altrincham & Southport were last year's casualties. I have a feeling they will maintain their larger stores in the likes of Manchester, Liverpool & the Trafford Centre - but most of the market town stores will go.

CJ
I don't know for certain, but I wonder whether the opposite could be true?

Focus the chain on the "market towns" where rent may be lower and competition may be less?

e.g. you might struggle to compete in a place like central Manchester (where you are paying top rents, but competing with a lot of "trendier" shops), but you might still attract shoppers if you focus on the places without other big department stores (e.g. Debenhams have shops in places like Kidderminster, Taunton and Bury St Edmonds, which may not have a House Of Fraser/ John Lewis or as many places like M&S/ NEXT to deal with, so fewer alternatives for shoppers)

I can't see many people bothering with a fairly stale brand like Debenhams in a bustling city centre (or shopping centre) with lots of other shops fighting to attract people - but maybe there's still life for them in places with older/wealthier demographics?

(just my thoughts - I'm certainly no retail genius!)
 

RichT54

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The Guildford Debenhams was scheduled to close this year, but was given a reprieve until 2021. If my last visit on a Saturday in early March (pre-virus restrictions) was anything to go by, they needn't have bothered. There were very few customers in the store and most of those were in the Costa Coffee section. I only saw one person actually buying anything and most of the staff were chatting to each other or dusting the stock that nobody wanted. The lower ground/basement level used to be mostly for the menswear department, but that has been closed off for several years and the first floor is now shared by both the women's and men's clothing departments. Nearly half the top floor had been taken over by a Sports Direct unit, but that had all gone by my last visit and the remaining items on the floor spread out to take up the space. They must have been losing a lot of money on the store, even before coronavirus hit.
 

Meerkat

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The Guildford Debenhams was scheduled to close this year, but was given a reprieve until 2021. If my last visit on a Saturday in early March (pre-virus restrictions) was anything to go by, they needn't have bothered. There were very few customers in the store and most of those were in the Costa Coffee section. I only saw one person actually buying anything and most of the staff were chatting to each other or dusting the stock that nobody wanted. The lower ground/basement level used to be mostly for the menswear department, but that has been closed off for several years and the first floor is now shared by both the women's and men's clothing departments. Nearly half the top floor had been taken over by a Sports Direct unit, but that had all gone by my last visit and the remaining items on the floor spread out to take up the space. They must have been losing a lot of money on the store, even before coronavirus hit.
Pretty sure the basement only got closed off last year.
i believe the landlords offered to buy them out the lease as the site must be worth an absolute fortune for redevelopment - town centre, riverside, short walk to the station for London trains.
 

S&CLER

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I think that they are in danger, given the way that the "lockdown" will change a lot of people's habits, but they might not be the only ones.

For example, buying a daily newspaper is a habit forming thing - people like routine - but once you've broken that routine (because you've been stuck in the house), you'll be used to getting the news from elsewhere.

Same with a lot of places selling "treats" - if you had your hair/ nails done every few weeks, but then you've accepted going without such luxuries for a couple of months, you might just accept that you can live without them - same goes for places selling breakfast/lunchtime "treats" to workers - when you've had a few weeks without your £3 coffee habit before work or fancy sandwich at lunchtime (and have possibly dealt with reduced wages for a few weeks), you're going to see demand for such things go down even if/when things go back to "normal".

Some people will flock back, sure, some people are probably craving the regular treats, but I'd be a little nervous if I was banking on everyone getting back to paying for such non-essentials (whether that's a nail bar or a coffee shop or somewhere flogging newspapers)
WHS is selling papers but only accepting card payment using self-service machines. Infuriatingly, these machines have a habit of charging twice if you are not quick enough. This has happened twice to me and twice to a friend who used the Whitehaven branch. It's so irritating that now I boycott WHS and buy a paper from the MtoGo shop at Southport station instead (which may be the only place to get a paper this Easter Sunday).
 

RichT54

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Pretty sure the basement only got closed off last year.
i believe the landlords offered to buy them out the lease as the site must be worth an absolute fortune for redevelopment - town centre, riverside, short walk to the station for London trains.
You're right it wasn't as long ago as I thought! I have since found a newspaper article from Feb 2019 which says it closed in late 2018. As you say, it's a great site for redevelopment, although they might need to do some work to prevent the basement from flooding again in the future.
 

Meerkat

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You're right it wasn't as long ago as I thought! I have since found a newspaper article from Feb 2019 which says it closed in late 2018. As you say, it's a great site for redevelopment, although they might need to do some work to prevent the basement from flooding again in the future.
Just use the basement for a car park
 

Peter Sarf

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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.
I don't know when I last bought something in my local WH Smith. I used to use it a lot but recently I went in to look. There is nothing I need and it reminded me of the last years of Woolworths, I actually wanted to get out.

Woolworhts became a very large sweet shop. Wilko is interesting - a few years ago it dawned on me that they were selling what Woolworths used to sell 40 odd years ago (for instance tools, kitchen ware and easy home improvement stuff). I actually want to go in and have a look but there is not one in Croydon !. My visits to Cardiff mean I drop in.

Debenhams. Not sure when I last bought clothes in there. Again its somehow not inspiring.

I remember the Croydon Littlewoods - On Saturdays I/we used to walk straight through to the back of the store up the escalator and have breakfast. Index was in the basement - never as good as Argos but competition.
 
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underbank

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I buy a lot of mags from WHS - nowhere else has anywhere near the same range. Supermarkets only stock the popular big sellers and newsagents only have the titles they are likely to sell, so unless you have a big local newsagents, they won't have a big range. I like to vary the mags I buy, so subscriptions don't work for me. I love to buy random mags just for variety. No-one comes close to WHS.
 

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