Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Retail trouble

News over here is all about another retail giant getting into trouble ...

Couldn't really let that bit of news pass as HMV is probably the shop I spend most time in up at the Mall. What can I say, I find browsing in there to be quite relaxing.

Yes. I'm strange.

Why would that be I wonder ? I touched on one possible reason earlier. Bargains. There's a Waterstones bookshop up at the Mall too but despite reading the occasional book, I don't tend to spend much time in there. Why ? Books cost too much these days (I can remember books costing £2-£3 new in shops - I'm old) and the stock isn't that great.

That's a big reason why the high street shops are struggling now. It costs money to hold stock and takes lots of space to put that stock on the shelves. So when I go looking for that Edie Brickell album I don't have yet or the Rachel Sermanni album I'm very curious about, I don't find it in the shop.

Prices tend to be cheaper online too and you avoid being inflicted with customer disservice too. Just one problem with actual media coming from online places, you tend to have to deal with the post office. That's why I don't order much online, because getting to the post office (especially with the car park ban) is a bit of a pain.

I'm not a big fan of HMV though. There used to be 2 record/movie shops at the Mall, with a Virgin (later Zavvi) store there too. They kept each other honest with the pricing and the offers. I'd tend to browse HMV and then buy downstairs in Virgin where the same item would usually be cheaper. Zavvi was another casualty of Woolworths collapsing. After Zavvi disappeared, there was noone to keep HMV honest. Prices went up.

I have been buying more stuff as download, however while I'm happy to do that with games and music I don't do that with movies. Movies take a lot of storage space and it's far more difficult to pipe movies to the good AV kit than it is to just pop a dvd in the Xbox, a blu-ray in the player and just watch stuff. Computers can do it but not as easily or as high quality as it should be.

So I still browse the record shops. Or I do at the moment.

There's some hope, as there's still a couple of independents in town. One is ok, although they pass off ex-rental blu-rays as new (thought that was illegal ?). The other are a bunch of crooks.

With the car park ban, I can see myself going into the city centre more than the Mall. There's more shops there and I already have the go anywhere bus ticket.

I'll be a little sad to see HMV go, although that's coloured by two things :

1 - I kinda wished they'd gone earlier instead of Virgin/Zavvi. I always preferred the other shop.
2 - Multimedia shopping going from high street to online seems inevitable.

I like having that browse ! I don't often buy much in there but I seem to do more movie/music shopping on impulse than it being a calculated online buy.

And Amazon cheat on their taxes so I try and avoid them for that.

PS I have a second copy of Resident Evil Afterlife on bluray after the last trip. I know I know ! The Resident Evil films are a bit naff. But I enjoy watching them (spot the Milla Jovovich fan) and I thought it was the newer one. Anyone (local!) want it ?


  1. I actually think books are really cheap. £5 for a book is pretty reasonable and most of mine are significantly less than that.

  2. Yeah - it depends where you can get them. The retail bookshops have two problems :

    Not having the books I'm interested in on their shelves
    Not keeping up with the online offers

    Online is better at getting us the books for the prices we're willing to pay :-)

  3. Of course. Shops can never compete with on-line retailers for either price or variety. I probably get 2/3 of my books on-line but still pick up random books in shops or supermarkets. Often they're books I would never have planned to buy and more often than not turn out to be at least reasonable.


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