Shops Closing Down

This week there was sad news that both Toys R Us and Maplin are in administration and thousands will lose their jobs.

Really sorry for anyone affected, it is terrible news, and I hope you find something new fast!

I’m half surprised they’ve lasted this long in a brave new world where everything is moving online.

I also feel slightly awkward about going near the stores when they’re closing as there’s some great prices, but

What baffles me even more is in Peterborough we’ve actually just got a new Smyths in the past year – it seems mad that they’re investing in buildings still.

I guess there are lots of ways to do business and plenty of customers to go around but it does make me wonder how long the likes of Currys / PC World, HMV, GAME and so forth will last in an era where people are buying less physical copies of media, and where you can go online and get same/next day delivery for pretty much anything now.

(HMV and GAME particularly surprise me as their longevity just defies logic! Much as I like both stores of course.)

There’s going to be an age in the next ten years where we start to see retail parks phase out surely? That’ll have a lot of knock on effect for business like Starbucks who pick up on thirsty shoppers, there’d be no need for all that if there’s no shops.

There are a fair few stores are still popping up and going strong, but unless you have to try it on, or need it at that exact moment in time, you can get anything within a day’s notice, usually same day in busy areas.

I was thinking about the things I’ve purchased in the past year or two that I couldn’t have got without seeing it.

Shoes – it seems like we’re waiting for someone to create a method of exactly measuring shoes before these shops die off.

I often think if companies could put specific measurements on their sites for every shoe you could use a tape measure, or you could print out a template and look at it – then you’d only have to return them if you ‘didn’t like them’ on arrival.

Clothes are similar, they tell you the measurements in most places, but I tend to get everything from the internet now. Again because you can send it back if you need to.

I got a massive tent a few years back that I perhaps ‘needed’ to get inside to check out first, but really I didn’t have to.

It wasn’t the one we purchased, so it didn’t help me confirm there were no issues, we could’ve arrived on holiday and found it was broken or something. Not ideal, but not really needed in person.

I can see these places slowly merging into a ton of massive DIY and Garden Centre stores over time which is odd because you can easily buy all that stuff online too but people seem to congregate there on a Sunday instead.

I’d like to see them become cinemas, restaurants, and places like that but even then most places have areas set out for those already so having more of them isn’t going to be much use, and I’m almost convinced that eventually cinemas will be forced to sell ‘pay per view’ style packages for ‘home cinema’ customers.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but if I could pay a monthly fee and watch stuff from my own home I would 100% do so!

I’d watch every freaking film that ever came out, even if I weren’t sure of it, and presumably with a big enough group of people involved, they’d make more money globally this way right?

What’s going to happen to shopping centres I wonder?

When you visit them now they’re starting to have the same generic group of stores, but most of them are dying off.

Card companies are being replaced by moon pig and so forth. Cosmetics are moving into subscriptions online, clothes we’ve covered.

I think every traditional ‘retail’ job is pretty much being replaced 1:1 with a delivery job.

Even then drones are taking over that part!

My attempt at being a futurist is to suggest that eventually they’ll turn these places into apartments, and it’d probably be quite nice in a way because it’d be set out like an indoor ‘street’ and there’d be space to put in their own community corner shop, car parking, and stuff like that.

Beyond that they’d probably need more warehouse and office space.

It’ll be weird only going out to be entertained by things like bowling, skating, and so forth, because right now I only really go out for shopping, meals and films unless it’s a party or convention.

Maybe they could turn shopping centres into event spaces? That’d be a way to maintain the insane costs!

Peterborough would probably benefit from an events centre more than it would a row of pound shops!

If someone could invent a way to replicate ‘dining out’ at a nice place, at home – a step up from a cheeky take away, but a step below having your own chef in-house, then that’d kill the restaurant scene.

People don’t go out to restaurants to be near other people, most people I know hate other people.

I feel like from writing this I need to build a shoe selling site that lets you print out paper sizing tools that you can put your feet into (maybe something you fold around your foot to confirm the measurements?)

I need to find a way to have mobile chefs cook restaurant quality meals with all the paraphernalia, without the people.

I need to convince cinema companies to sell home subscription packages.

Then I can turn a shopping centre into my own personal, slightly ridiculous mansion community…

What do you think? Is my 10 year prediction too soon? It feels like it is already happening.

The sad loss of Toys R Us will leave huge empty sites throughout the UK, every town I’ve ever lived in has had at least one big store.

Maybe they’ll be saved by a buyer who thinks they can get more life out of the stores – I think we’re more likely to see the online business continue until the likes of Amazon truly take over the world.

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