As a retired food retailer, who spent 40 years at the sharp end of the business, I believe retailing has always been competitive.
Back in the 1960s and 70s, there were really good businesses – and shops that just got by or went out of business. That’s the same today.
The pressure hit the high streets in the 70s when supermarkets opened with their ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ mentality. But those early stores were uninteresting compared to today’s supermarkets.
In the last 40 years, supermarkets, in a bid to grab a greater slice of the trade, upped their game substantially.
Who would have thought 40 years ago that supermarkets would be open 24/7 and making home deliveries seven days a week?
Nail bars, beauticians and hair salons now out-number butchers 10 to one.
That tells us two things. Firstly there’s no shortage of disposable income, and also that we are still prepared to go to locally-owned businesses on the high street (you cannot get your nails done on the internet).
In the 1980s and 90s, high street shops could offer a service and expertise that supermarkets couldn’t.
The customer was buying into a personal service.
Then supermarkets upped their game and trained staff to be helpful and friendly, as well as providing a better quality product.
When you go to your local shop, you want to be known by your name and treated as a valued customer.
A lot of private businesses do still provide that now, but a lot don’t and therein lies the problem.
Not enough of the private shops have upped their game to make it worthwhile for shoppers to go to them rather than the supermarket or buying on the internet.