High Street chain collapse sweepstake

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Gavin Scott
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 13.16
Location: Edinburgh

I spent well over a ton on gifts at HMV. And I also bought some new earphones, to replace a pair I'd bought not so long ago but fell apart.

*Annoyingly* I paid approximately 10% more for the last set in consideration of their "replace any fault - even if you break them - for 18 months" insurance policy.

But I filed the receipt carefully in a giant drawer of paperwork, and couldn't be bothered looking it out.

At the time the deal seemed pretty good - and I wondered how they could stand such a policy. After all, earphones don't last anyone that long, do they?

Now I see that they bank on the fact that everyone is as atrocious with paperwork as I am, so they made quite a tidy profit.

I saw plenty of people playing with iPods and pads, but didn't see them make any sales in the 40 minutes I was there.

I don't know who I expect to see fail on the high street next, but I expect it will be more clothing firms than anyone. I know tons of folk buying from Asos now - people I wouldn't have imagined to shop online before.

I still like to look at stuff on display in shops - although I needn't bother. Nothing looks the same on me as it does on the mannequin.
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Nick Harvey wrote:
As to John Lewis (and Waitrose), I simply cannot understand why anybody would ever set foot over their over-priced thresholds, especially in the current economic climate.
I live near a big Waitrose now and occasionally pop in out of laziness. As far as I can tell it's people unlikely to be affected by such things as the economy that shop there, and scarily there is no lack of them. There are even people that do the weekly shop with their families. Christ the numbers that appear on the till are massive for a fairly modest shop.

It is one mile to a massive Tesco with vastly superior parking.
Knight knight
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Joined: Fri 22 Feb, 2008 21.23
Location: Merseyside

The only thing I dislike about John Lewis is the fact they got rid of all the well-known names, like George Henry Lee.

Little Chef has a great new look but they need to start advertising on TV! I have no idea why they don't do that.
James L H
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Joined: Mon 18 May, 2009 18.52
Location: North East

I think HMV is on borrowed time. It is turning more and more into a discount technology store than an entertainment stockist. In my local branch they never have a large selection of DVD's, and as for their album chart, it strangely always seems to be their own chart and not the one all of the other HMV stores run with (either that, or they never keep it updated so it seems different).

As for WHSmith, I wouldn't miss it if it went. One of my pet hates with the shop is the way they try to sell you other sh*t you don't need when they are scanning through the products. For example, I went in a few days ago to buy a paper and got offered Sellotape, Chewits or Terrys Chocolate Oranges for £2. If I wanted to buy a crushed Chocolate Orange I would have picked one up myself. Further to my horror, the cashier then stuffed a few WHSmith coupons into the paper meaning I had to find the page she placed them in so I could chuck them into the bin on the way out.
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Location: Carlton

lukey wrote:I'd also doubt that Game will go. Their two store formats (Game/Gamestation) pretty much have it cornered between them, and the preowned trade is probably doing relatively well for them, even if it continues to upset publishers. Their numbers have been pretty poor lately but I can imagine they could conceive of a way to keep operating....

HMV however baffle me. Again, I'd have thought being one of the last major bricks and mortar CD/DVD/BD chains would have given them some way of soaking up a lot of impulse trade if not much else, and yet instead they've decided to refocus on selling tech gear. I wander about HMV a fair bit and yet I don't think I have ever witnessed anyone buying tech stuff beyond earphones there, and yet its expanded to be about a third of the store. It just means they execute a self-fulfilling prophecy of not selling (for example) so many CDs, so reduce their footprint in the store, meaning there's so few CDs even the people who would go there for music can't find what they're looking for so don't even bother.
It's all a bit desperate - why they see the tech market as their saviour I do not know; Best Buy have showed the market is both saturated and shrinking. Too little, too late - if HMV embraced the downward curve in high street media sales when it began sloping downwards (10 years ago or more) they could have reinvented themselves as a cool version a Dixons, a clone of GAME with a decent DVD range coherently.

Ultimately there simply is no room for a permanent record/video shop any more. They cant hope to compete on either price or range with the e-tailers, and the Supermarkets are both more convenient and usually cheaper on Chart stuff.
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BBC News - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-16350067 wrote: Store chain D2 Jeans has gone into administration, making 200 staff redundant and putting hundreds more jobs at risk.

Administrators closed 17 stores and laid off the shop workers at the Ayrshire-based firm.

The remaining 28 stores are being run as a going concern while administrators seek a buyer
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Cripes. It is a surreal thing to see happening. I was posting round CVs looking for a holiday/saturday job in 2005 when I saw bailiffs turn up at the Gadget Shop and turf them out. Immediately struck them off my list of places I was hoping to hit.
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Joined: Mon 11 Dec, 2006 19.11
Location: Worcester, UK

I agree with everyone who has said HMV. I went in there to buy the Military Wives single last week ( :oops: ) and it took me 15 minutes to find it. There was no Singles Chart stand anywhere and in the end I found it on a shelf by the tills. It's not as if they were treating that particular record badly either - I couldn't find any of the other singles (such as Little Mix) either!

They are also selling DVDs for worryingly low prices (good for Christmas presents, but worrying in the long-term) and they are just too tacky to be selling tech, IMO. I mean, I'll happily go in there and play with a laptop/iPad/whatever, but I would go to a proper tech shop to purchase it. It's an identity thing for me, I think, and HMV is just not as trustworthy a brand for tech products as Currys, Dixons, Comet and the rest (not that they're particularly competent, but you know what I'm driving at...) As said, HMV's online business could become something, but they are clearly failing on the high street, which is a real shame as it is nice to have a place to buy physical CDs in person. Is there another chain like that left?

My dad's been worrying about Game going under all month and has been predicting WH Smith's demise for years. It would be disappointing to see Smith's go, as I find it a very useful shop for stationery. Mind you, they're not especially focused on their products, what with the stationery, magazines, books, DVDs, other entertainment, cards, snack food and so on. Perhaps turn it into a stationer/newsagent branch first and foremost to save on overheads? I've never bought books from Smith's, preferring the likes of Waterstone's or Amazon.

Incidentally, does anyone know why Blacks and Millets are operated as separate outlets? I only realised that they were the same owner when a mate of mine who worked in Blacks popped up in Millets one day as they were short-staffed. There's very little overlap between the shops in terms of own-brand items and so on, which clearly isn't good for economies of scale.

And while we're talking about tacky own-brand products, how are Wilkinsons doing? Are they so cheap-and-cheerful that they're OK? I know my mother, for example, likes to buy her stationery from there to save money, so perhaps they are doing well from people down-buying in the recession?
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madmusician wrote: And while we're talking about tacky own-brand products, how are Wilkinsons doing? Are they so cheap-and-cheerful that they're OK? I know my mother, for example, likes to buy her stationery from there to save money, so perhaps they are doing well from people down-buying in the recession?
I think Wilkinsons do pretty well!

I would go nowhere else for stationery bits - they sell a pack of six biro pens for something like 20p, and they are fine. Can't go wrong with them! Everything is reasonably priced and branded stuff is there too at a decent price - WH Smiths is massively overpriced and the only time I've ever shopped there was with a voucher I was given, I spent nearly £4 on a small pack of pencil crayons and they were the cheapest...

In terms of other stuff - it's a bit of an odd-bits shop but their products are usually very well priced in comparison with supermarkets and other places - after store refurb they are a nice place to be in too. No snobbery around the name either anymore, that honour goes to B&M which are truly horrible shops to be in.
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I think HMV will stick around for a while yet. They always seem to be quite busy, and the store near me, at least, has a huge range of Music and DVDs. Additionally, they've got a large technology department in my store, ranging from iPads to tiny earbuds, and that seems to be doing excellent trade.

Disagree that GAME will fold, too, as they do seem to dominate the market there, along with Gamestation. Also, it would seem Publishers are cracking down on Pre-owned titles, and putting things like an 'Online Pass' into their games. One use only, on one account, and activates Multiplayer. Buy pre-owned, and you have to buy an Online pass separately, meaning that the game publisher still makes profit from Pre-owned.

I can see JJB going, though. They closed on the local High street here a year or so ago, making the only JJB an out of town affair, and they don't seem to be doing all that well, what, with Sports Direct so much cheaper.

So, my sweepstake is:

1) JJB Sports - as explained.
2) QD - there's a stigma that stops me from shopping there, and whenever I do go in, it's usually empty, selling a weird array of home furnishings and utensils, along with a fishing section (Lathams?), and some weird childrens toys.
3) Clarks - the shoe shop, that is. It generally seems to be overpriced footwear, which is nicer/cheaper elsewhere. However, not having Children, maybe those Bootleg things do well.
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Nick Harvey
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Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 22.26
Location: Deepest Wiltshire

Gavin Scott wrote:After all, earphones don't last anyone that long, do they?
I've had my current Beyer DT100s since the mid seventies. They've had two sets of replacement soft ear pads since then and are still going strong.
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