diamond geezer

 Sunday, December 16, 2018

At the very start of 2009, I asked my readers which High Street stores they thought might not see out the year. This was at the start of the recession, during the death throes of the mighty Woolworths, at which point it felt like no chain was safe. It's now the end of 2018, one tempestuous decade later, and I thought I'd see how we fared.

My readers were duly pessimistic, and came up with the following 30 stores that might not be long for this world. I ordered their suggestions with the biggest names at the top and smaller fry at the bottom. I've now updated that list with the dates that companies did actually fall into administration (and removed a few links which no longer work).

 Storeadministration   nominated by
1)M&S-RogerW
2)Sainsburys-Garax
3)Boots-Sarah
4)BHSApr 2016Henry
5)W H Smith-Debster
6)Debenhams-Ian Visits
7)HMVJan 13/Dec 18Nox
8)Mothercare-Jack
9)Argos-D-Notice
10)Currys.digital-Kirk
11)CometNov 2012Red Dalek
12)Waterstones-Dave
13)B&Q-Steve J
14)PC World-Christian
15)DFS-Michael
16)Homebase-Adam S
17)BordersNov 2009Lyle
18)BlockbusterJan 2013Embo
19)Burtons-camelType
20)JessopsJan 2013Jag
21)JJB SportsSep 2012diamond geezer
22)Clinton CardsMay 2012Rob
23)OddbinsApr 2011michael
24)Thorntons-graybo
25)Snappy Snaps-kenromford
26)Black's LeisureDec 2011Alfie
27)FADS-Huw
28)Edinburgh Woollen Mill  -Ben
29)PeacocksJan 2012Marc
30)Blue Inc-martin

Five out of 30 no longer trade. I'd say that's impressively few, or maybe we were just bad at predicting the most vulnerable stores. Well done to Henry, Red Dalek, Lyle, Embo and, er, me.

First to tumble was booksellers Borders in November 2009. Books were first up against the wall in the digital economy, assaulted by e-readers and online retail, and yet Waterstones has managed to survive and still has over 250 shops. 2012 saw the end of JJB Sports, engulfed within the Sports Direct empire, and of electrical retailers Comet. Blockbuster fell at the start of 2013 and few were surprised, indeed the market for on-demand digital films has since proved unstoppable. And BHS was the biggest casualty of all in 2016, downed by High Street inertia and a succession of greedy thieving bosses. But that's the lot.

Six other stores in the list entered administration but didn't die. Oddbins stumbled in 2011 and were bought out by the European Food Broker group, their high street presence now greatly reduced (and mostly London-based). Blacks slipped briefly into administration later that year purely as a means to allow JD Sports to buy them out. In January 2012 Peacocks went under but was bought out by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, then Clinton Cards defaulted in May becoming Clintons in the associated buyout. HMV and Jessops both called in the administrators in January 2013 - a brutal month. HMV was bought out by restructuring company Hilco, and Jessops by TV Dragon Peter Jones, trading today as Jessops Europe Limited. Entering administration isn't always the end.

The other 19 stores on the list have avoided administration, although some have come close. Homebase had a terrible time after it was sold to Australian DIY chain Bunnings and was eventually unloaded for £1. Blue Inc placed one of its subsidiaries into administration in 2016, and is reported to be on the verge of collapse at present. Mothercare closed 50 of its stores earlier this year to stave off financial woes. Debenhams are also desperately slimming down, which makes the new store they opened in Watford last month somewhat inexplicable.

Then there are the companies which collapsed but which my readers didn't predict, however obvious their plight looks now. Nobody picked Maplin, the electrical bazaar which ceased operations this summer, nor Toys R Us which went under in the spring. House of Fraser really ought to have been included, even though they haven't downsized to their doom just yet, but who would have guessed that Poundworld would go first?

Our high street retailers have actually been quite resilient over the last decade, even if they have had to slim down and cut back to survive. The next ten years may not be so benign, indeed one bad Christmas could be enough to tip one or more well known names out of existence. You may not miss them, as you sit and wait for yet another gift delivery to arrive, but their customers and staff will. And I wonder who'll go next...


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream