Since the financial crisis of 2008 many firms have closed down or have turned into one of the many so called zombie companies occupying the high street. However, the high street as we know it has been changing since the start of Internet shopping and its popular growth over the last ten years. The rise of Amazon and eBay has radically changed the way we shop. However, the closure of brands such Woolworths and more recently HMV causes psychological damage to the high street adding to the feeling that the era of the high street is under threat.
The recent recession has damaged a lot of high street firms beyond repair, so what does this me for the shopping habits in towns in Northern Ireland? For one it means that a number of jobs will be on the chopping block and the money generated in local towns across Northern Ireland will be affected. Also, with less well known firms such as HMV on the high street, means people are less likely to go out shopping or it could be an opportunity for the rise of independents.
The recent closures of HMV and Blockbuster with the thousands of job losses and knock on effect of the supply chain, will have huge impact on our economy. Like the collapse of the manufacturing base before, the collapse of the high street firm could have huge implications for the economy. It creates new challenges and problems for businesses and policy makers. With the collapse of zombie companies who are not investing in their business and economy the hope is that new companies can spring up to fill this gap.
The recent flag protests and the rioting that sprung from it caused huge damage to the Belfast trading over Christmas. With traders in a recent meeting in the Europa were voicing their anger and frustration at. Set backs like this cost the high street further in its war with shoppers who are choosing Internet shopping over making the trip to their high street more and more now. Government policy also has a part to play in this, recent focus has been on the creation of out of town retail units this has has a huge impact on shopping habits. The way we shop is radically different to the way our parents and grandparents and no doubt our grandchildren will have a different pattern to us such is the progress of change.
This is the joint profile of Aaron Callan and Brian John Spencer, Northern Ireland’s finest purveyors of the weekly overview: “The Comment on the Week”
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