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Closing of B&O shops - reasons

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Andrew
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Andrew posted on Thu, Aug 25 2016 11:25 AM

It is sad that so many B&O shops are closing with just a few B&O owned shops remaining, however I dont think it is altogether surprising. 

I mostly shop local but high streets in general are changing massively, they have become mecca to ladies fashion - I went into an M&S shop the other day and 2/3 of it was dominated by female fashion, the remainder was kids or mens clothes. The same with the high street, make up shops, nail bars, places to eat, fashion shops, discount shops. No music shops, HiFi or TV shops or anything that I would be interested in. No more traditional pubs where you can smoke an e-cig and have a pint without kids running round and people eating gastro lunches, no more junk/antique shops in fact nothing that would entice a 50 year old make into a high street. Maybe John Lewis though but hardly worth the effort after driving clogged streets and extortionate parking charges.

The situation doesn't get better on the outskirts of our major towns and cities, what with parking restrictions everywhere - I can understand the argument for being green but train prices are also extortionate.

Unfortunately the majority of the general public prefer to buy TV's or Hifi's from out of town retail parks alongside the likes of B&Q, Pet and Garden places etc. 

I don't know what the answer is and am saddened that our high streets have become so uninteresting - the B&O shops closing make them even less interesting. Fortunately it's not all bad - there are places like Norwich that do have a B&O shop, do have record shops and everything else that appeals to both men and women - and it is worth the 60 mile drive. 

I'd be interested to know what peoples views are of their high streets and if there is a trend that the shops are closing where the clothes shops dominate or if it is due to a change in consumer purchasing habits - maybe if it is a change in habit combined with clothes shops then a move maybe to have B&O in John Lewis in the same way they do in Selfridges and Harrods - at least we would be able to get to see new stuff in the flesh and compared to the competition I am sure they would do very well?

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9 LEE
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9 LEE replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 12:07 PM

As with almost everything in the UK, we follow the US. I say almost everything, and that's true, but one thing we do follow the USA in is consumerism - and how we shop, and eat...

We're generally 10 years behind, in my experience.

When I was in the Motor Trade it was all small independent garages. A customer would spend all day Saturday and Sunday driving round to the various garages, make a shortlist, go back and test drive, then return to the one garage to negotiate a deal and make the purchase. That was how it was done.

I flew over to the USA and was astonished by the lack of small independents, and the sheer scale of the 'super dealerships' with 1,000 or 2,000 cars. All fixed price, all cheap thanks to the volume/scale, fixed prices - and a one-stop shop as they'd have pretty much any variation of any car you wanted. One place, one 'trip', get it done, buy the car, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

That was in 2002.  Now, in the UK we have Cargiant, Unbeatable Car, Available Car, all stocking thousands of cars. 

If you're a big brand in a big city in the USA, the scale will carry you. If you're a small independent looking to set up a new business, the rents hamstring you to a point where it's just not worth bothering. Same in the UK.

The younger generation also seem more comfortable dealing with 'brand names' - wether that be Costa, Starbucks, Game, Cash Converters, and so on... Rarely (if ever) do I see a 'young person' in an independent specialist hi-fi store saying "So, what's the best speaker dock / which are the best headphones?" and so on.  They read online reviews, stroll into the big discounter, and buy them - in a sealed packet.  (We're back to marketing here.. AGAIN)

In the US, when I've been, you do get these 'slightly out of town' Mini-Mall areas. They usually have a Subway, a restaurant, some small shops and independent businesses (usually nail bars and therapy practices) where the local community drop in. I can't see a B&O Dealership in any of these though...

Here in the UK, as the urban population grows and grows, and more people own cars - and there are less places to park them, we're shying away from town centres. Personally, I'll only go into my local town if I have to.  No longer do I think "I'll go have a wander around the town centre" like I used to. I'd always end up buying something when I did....

I think there's a gap in the market for 'Boutique Destinations' for developers. Somewhere out of town, where land is cheaper and parking is plentiful, where the rents don't have to be sky-high. Maybe something part-funded by the government to boost businesses and create jobs?  Who knows...

Lee

Paul W
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Paul W replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 12:28 PM

Don't forget Andrew, that the majority of 'consumers' are shopping on line! Of course, the high street is changing. The world is connected now, it's a smaller place. It's more European, it's international. I posted a really great article on how the younger generations are spending their income as it's certainly changed compared to say a 45 year old. Also, in today's economy, how many people seriously have £5K or £4K to spend on a TV or a pair of loudspeakers? Of course B&O shops are total history, for the UK at least. Record shops went out of business years ago when people started downloading and then streaming. Yes vinyl sales peaked for a short time but, most of those sales were from the novelty market - the people buying the Crosley record players for a bit of fun and 2. The collector buying the Pink Flloyd record and saving it, hoping that it would increase in value. 

I disagree Lee. Certainly, certain people follow the USA but I believe that the educated of the UK follow European culture rather than the USA. The USA has 70% of people with obesity, 70% are RELIANT on pharmaceutical drugs, the country is trying to push GMO food on its people with no labelling even though they are totally aware of the cancers that are caused by them. Seriously, if you talk to younger, educated people, they totally shun what goes on in that country and certainly would not buy rubbish from Subway, McDonalds and 'pretend food' places. Maybe the 52% are pro USA in habit but there's the 48% of the UK that are a million miles away from that. And Lee, there's a night and day difference there. Go to a few universities and have a talk to the English and international Masters students - it'll give you a totally different perception than what you are mentioning!

It's also the fact that educated people have woken up to the true consequences of consumerism. They are buying less as there is zero reason to have a house full of 'stuff'. 

 

9 LEE
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9 LEE replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 12:47 PM

Paul, I don't think talking to the international educated elite gives you an accurate reflection of the thought processes of the general public in the United Kingdom?

In todays economy, plenty of people have £4k-£5k to spend on Loudspeakers.  These people are usually over 35-40 years old.

As for culture - the general view is that young Europeans look to the USA for mainstream cultural influence.  Most of the world looks to America. When a country throws open its doors to capitalism and consumerism they queue round the block to have a burger from the newly opened McDonalds, or a coffee from the newly opened Starbucks.

I also disagree that educated people don't want 'stuff'.  They do - but as they're 'educated' they want the coolest 'stuff'.....

Lee

Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 1:04 PM

Paul, where do you get this stuff from?

Paul W:

Don't forget Andrew, that the majority of 'consumers' are shopping on line!

Meanwhile, back in the real world.........

in July 2016, 14% of retail sales (excluding fuel) in the UK were made on-line according to the office for national statistics.  This is forecast to increase to 21% by 2018. 

Paul W:

It's also the fact that educated people have woken up to the true consequences of consumerism. They are buying less as there is zero reason to have a house full of 'stuff'. 

People aren't buying less, UK consumer spending has never been higher in absolute or real terms.

 

Just saying.

StUrrock
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Duels:

Meanwhile, back in the real world.........

in July 2016, 14% of retail sales (excluding fuel) in the UK were made on-line according to the office for national statistics. This is forecast to increase to 21% by 2018.

Just saying.

...and profit margins for the dealers on TVs has been nearly halved..

Chris Townsend
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I voted out Paul for reasons I'm not going to bore other Beoworlders about, and I don't believe this is the place for political dogma.

But are you seriously suggesting that myself an airline captain, and all my collegues who voted out bar one, are uneducated morons?

Personally I find it deeply offensive, and is a detriment to this site that you are allowed to persistently continue to post this nonsense. 

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Andrew
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Andrew replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 1:34 PM

Interesting but I think like all things the novelty will wear off - yes great for tins of beans and heavy stuff where you know what you are buying but for things you need to see, hear or feel I think people will start to move back to shops (I hope). In London there has been a massive rise apparently in the numbers of independent butchers, fishmongers etc as I suppose the educated people who watch the likes of Nigella want to sometimes during the week buy fresh and cook at home after being in offices and under pressure.

I haven't a clue where Paul gets his stats but the figures for US obesity are much less than 70% - in fact 40% for women and 35% for men - 29% for boys and girls but this figure also includes overweight so it is in fact less and shows a downward trend - in England 29%of women and 24% of men - figures vary for Scotland, Ireland and Wales - source is World Obesity Federation. I guess the stats for educated and uneducated as based totally on Pauls interpretation from the results of a recent referendum....

 

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 1:34 PM

Interesting but I think like all things the novelty will wear off - yes great for tins of beans and heavy stuff where you know what you are buying but for things you need to see, hear or feel I think people will start to move back to shops (I hope). In London there has been a massive rise apparently in the numbers of independent butchers, fishmongers etc as I suppose the educated people who watch the likes of Nigella want to sometimes during the week buy fresh and cook at home after being in offices and under pressure.

I haven't a clue where Paul gets his stats but the figures for US obesity are much less than 70% - in fact 40% for women and 35% for men - 29% for boys and girls but this figure also includes overweight so it is in fact less and shows a downward trend - in England 29%of women and 24% of men - figures vary for Scotland, Ireland and Wales - source is World Obesity Federation. I guess the stats for educated and uneducated as based totally on Pauls interpretation from the results of a recent referendum....

 

Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 1:38 PM

Chris Townsend:

 

Personally I find it deeply offensive, and is a detriment to this site that you are allowed to persistently continue to post this nonsense. 

I find it both fascinating and puzzling in equal measure that someone can actually be a caricature of themselves.

The Beonic Man
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I do actually think that Paul presents some valid arguments and would agree with him that a percentage of the UK/European populous are making very genuine connected efforts to move away from USA consumerism and lifestyle choices. I count myself as one of them. We cannot disagree about the obesity levels as this is very factual and the USA stands out in this regard. I have changed my lifestyle choices having looked at the USA (primarily) and seen the negative impact of the fast food industry and how this affects people - it's not a way I want to live, or look like. Many people look awful. They have really let themselves go with little to no self respect and then they rely on the medical industry (drugs) to support or 'fix' them, rather than taking the responsibility themselves to get well by working out at the gym and eating sensibly. It's a quick fix solution based society/model that doesn't work and while I agree with Lee that some people in the UK might follow that model (including the consumerism model) I am more inclined to agree with Paul that many of us see how ludicrous it all is and actually don't. I find myself so much less interested now in spending money on expensive items. I have a lot of money to spend if I want to, but I just don't want to as I have realised over the years it doesn't really give me all that much happiness, the latter of which is obtained from friends, relationships and experiences - not products.

I think that the forum is rather harsh with Paul and gives him a hard time when at times, he presents good arguments with validity. We can all agree there is a way of saying something and at times we can all improve and present arguments better, but please, stop bullying Paul as I am a bit tired of reading it in various forum threads. He's not like Flappo, who used to frequent this forum and was darn out rude and offensive on many occasions. I like you and respect you Paul. I find you interesting and filled with passion, wherever that might take you. And... as for possibly being bipolar as a recent member suggested, good for you! I am bipolar too and very proud of it! Makes us interesting and unique :)

Simon.

 

 

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Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 1:43 PM

Andrew:

I haven't a clue where Paul gets his stats but the figures for US obesity are much less than 70% - in fact 40% for women and 35% for men

So that's 75% in total.  Paul was nearly right Wink

The Beonic Man
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I'll also add that I am half Greek half English, and can tell you that the Greeks have never embraced McDonalds since it opened in Greece. The restaurants are often empty with Greeks being much more loyal to the Greek equivalent, which is a lot healthier. The Greeks are very passionate about keeping Greece Greek, and not losing their identity to the USA. I don't blame the USA for this, not at all, and I am not trying to be political, but I do want to give credence to Pauls arguments because I believe them to be correct and while the English may disagree (clearly judging by some of your responses) the Greeks and many other Europeans would understand exactly with what he presents, and that's fact.

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Duels
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Duels replied on Thu, Aug 25 2016 2:04 PM

Band'oh!

I respect you sticking up for Paul and my own view of the forum is that the more variety there is in views and opinions the better.  That's the point of a forum. 

But I would disagree with your comment that he is not offensive.  See Chris's post above.  He seems to be offended.

To my mind Paul posts extremely bold and provocative statements and opinions at times, quite deliberately.  This is not a bad thing on a forum and he is perfectly entitled to do so.  But one cannot be surprised if people react to being called (directly or indirectly) old, uneducated or vulgar.  And one cannot be surprised if people react when one day they are told they should only buy £250 designer shirts and £6,000 bikes and the next that we should not be materialistic.

Paul gets robust replies to robust and provocative posts.  He's not bullied.  If he was he wouldn't spend so much time on here (as so many of us do).  Paul is not here for the love of the brand, he is here to share his views of the world and life which is absolutely fine by me.  But if you're going to lob hand-grenades about you shouldn't be surprised if some come back.

Again, respect to you for your posts.

Mr 10Percent
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I’ll give everyone my 2 cents on this. I’ve indicated similar thoughts in my recent thread comments. If it is too socio-econo-political….well tough! – just ignore it.

I’m a Brit. I travel the world with work going from work assignment to work assignment. Usually in 6month to 2 year stints. I go back to the UK for my home and holidays. I tend to develop a world-view model of things from the perspective of being paid very well but yet retaining working-class roots and comparing the various places I have lived.  I am currently residing in the US Mid-West.

World-view goes like this.

In the last 20-odd years both in the UK and the US, there has been a shift from productive to unproductive work. By this I mean from productive to unproductive capital driven by Social agendas and not true Capitalism (Crony-Capitalism). This has resulted in the ubiquitous “rich getting richer, poor getting poorer” and the self-licking ice-cream of (any) government getting greedier and greedier with its own people.

Here in the US, I can attest (Paul_W’s obesity issue) that it costs me dollar x2 to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and meat than it does to eat out (or do a take-away). There is nothing I would call fine-dining or healthy dining here - just low-grade cr@p food – usually covered in cheese to add flavour (and calories).  No one where I live looks like they look in Hollywood.  Obamacare has caused medical insurance rates to multiply (rather than decrease). Outsourcing of jobs i.e. social globalisation is reducing wages and “good jobs”.

Net result. Disposable incomes going down – particularly with the young, people struggling and prioritising what they do spend their money on. My experience is that real people in the US are not particularly well educated (not their fault but the systems) and they are certainly not well-paid. In fact, I would say average real wages here are less than that of the UK.

In the UK, I see that we are taxed to an inch of our lives and the Rentier-class sucks the money out of the UK economy.  As with the US, outsourcing of jobs i.e. social globalisation is reducing wages and “good jobs”. We are now a nation of coffee bars and bistros and although the food is certainly better than the US, its not exactly a well-paying industry. My partner can attest to that.

Net result. Disposable incomes going down – particularly with the young, people struggling and prioritising what they do spend their money on.

So in my world-view, it is not necessarily corporate commercialism which is the problem – that is business survivalism within the rules. I am for a free and fair market. True Capitalism which applies to both the big and little person. However, the powers that be prefer not to let us have a fair and free market.

Back to B&O, either they need to change their business model and either/or entice those with less disposable with significantly cheaper products (race to the bottom) or supply the Oligarchs with premier cost home entertainment products  And guess what – that appears to be what they may be actually doing. However, I do question though how sustainable it is for them because their traditional middle-class customer base is evaporating and those that are left probably don’t like looking up or down at what is on offer.

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