I’m not surprised at all.

So the High Street May be struggling even more than initially though , I’m not surprised at all.

I rarely go into town now, it’s just not an enjoyable experience in Dundee at all. Given the amount of empty shops I suspect it isn’t for many others. This Guardian article is interesting in some ways while missing the point in others.

I totally accept that people have less money to spend, I know I do but it’s not just that. Going into town in Dundee is not enjoyable. Parking is not cheap, but neither is public transport, so you take the car. The Wellgate Centre in Dundee, once an important shopping must in the 80s, is now an empty shell with mostly cheap charity shops, stalls, pound shops and a couple of brand shops like Iceland and New Look. It looks crap and is cumbersome to get around. I avoid it now as much as I can and to be honest it has had its day and probably just needs demolished.

Shops are so desperate for a sale that you barely get 30 seconds before someone asks if you want any help, it’s intrusive and certainly puts me off a shop. I just want peace to look around but more often than not I just leave. There is also the fact that too many chain stores make the experience uninteresting and clothes in particular are so standard that you can’t get your size if you a wee bit short like me.

The simple reality is shopping online is cheaper and more convenient overall, esp for someone like me who doesn’t really enjoy shopping anyway. I don’t think the high street can be saved to be honest but they could start by making parking easier or cheaper. Or make public transport affordable. They could start by having smaller chain stores and more independents with prices that are more affordable. They can make an effort, in Dundee anyway, to brighten up the area. The V and A when it opens will be good but what will people think when they walk five minutes into the City and see nothing much of interest.

There are no easy answers and it is sad that our Cities are becoming Ghost towns but that’s the fault of the Councils, the stores, the prices and the blandness.

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6 Responses to I’m not surprised at all.

  1. Ricky says:

    I think its the same everywhere , here in Livingston , we have The Centre and McArthur Glen , everything under a few roofs , except the heart and soul of what makes a place . Maybe if we had open air markets , selling local produce and goods , that might help a little , but the big companies would scream to the high heavens about something or other to block that idea . Every high street and city centre are very generic , simply because the independent trader has been priced out of business . Online is the present and the future but the price for local economies is a high one . Maybe we are at the beginning of the end for the traditional high street/city centre . A huge side impact of this will be less human interaction and the art of conversation replaced by the keyboard and a signature for the delivery driver .

    • Ricky
      It’s sad but it is a sign of the times I guess. I went to Edinburgh just after Christmas to have a look at the market and could not believe how expensive it was, it really was out of the price range of most people, I was actually shocked by it. The shops were mostly all the same as you get in Dundee and that was just depressing to be honest, blandness on Princess street. The market was nice though, very festive, nice lights and atmosphere even though it was raining heavy but again just the prices put me off.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  2. Helena Brown says:

    I agree, sounds like Dunfermline, we have more empty shops than ever. People have tried and failed to start shops. We have posh charity shops though. You wonder at those various agents who have empty shops on their books. They let them if they can on a reduced rent for a year after that year the rent gets bumped up, end of business. My Brother in Law has a shop which to put no finer point on it, is on it’s last legs. We have said for years he should have shut up and ran a business from his garage, mail order. Now he is talking about becoming a delivery man. My Husband says he has no idea what he is contemplating. It would be even worse for him.
    I agree with everything Ricky says as well, as for me mail order is not always the answer. I need to try shoes on, I have wee feet. I like to see what I am buying. Ever watched you wife, I bet she likes to feel the material of any clothes she is buying.
    I think what makes me want to scream is that if you go to most town’s of a comparable size on the Continent, there are a whole lot fewer empty shops.
    Dunfermline is an historic city, we get tourists for the Abbey. I bet it has a terrible effect on them. Oh and the Labour Council and Carnegie Trust have yet to reopen the Abbotsford House. Grrrrr

    • Helena
      Some things you have to try on, I totally agree and most of that is out of town now as it’s easier to park etc. I would not want to try and make a go of a business now at all, there is no money in it with rent, business rates, vat and all the rest. We make it difficult for small business while the large corporations can avoid tax as they please, total joke. I wonder how other countries do it as when I was in Barcelona and just outside everywhere was full, you have to think they have low business rates etc for small business.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

  3. bjsalba says:

    I live in a small town/big village (it’s at that in-between stage) . Our fish and chip shop just closed because the landlord jacked up the rent. Grrr!

    • bjsalba
      You can’t win. My employer said we might get a 3% pay rise this year while announcing a 3% rise in Council Tax and I just got my rent increase today and guess what 3%, totally pisses me off. I wonder how much longer it will be before it is not worth working anymore for myself, I get worse off every year, year on year. You would think the landlord of the Chip Shop would want some rent rather than no rent, that’s why I would bring in land value tax so even if the property is empty the landlord is still paying.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

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