Retail Round-Up Stories from the UK High Streets


We will all be only too aware that the UK’s High Streets are seriously struggling and there is a constant flow of “bad news” stories hitting the papers. A few examples (and possible causes)


  • Marks and Spencer – still trying to be all things to all people, this no longer works. People are “promiscuous” in shopping habits and no longer tend to buy all their (for example) clothing from one brand. Plus, “Mrs M&S” (typically our parents, is literally a dying clientele) And, M&S very late into internet retailing.
  • House of Fraser – very similar, compounded by years of under-investment. Department Stores (John Lewis excepted) are very “yesterday” as a concept.
  • Debenhams as per House of Fraser
  • Poundworld – cash flow problems and possibly getting squeezed by the merger of Poundland and 99p shops?
  • Mothercare – many more brands now sell baby/children’s clothes and the “one-stop” shop got left behind in this market.
  • New Look – caught and squeezed between the entry level of Primark and the brands just “above” New Look?


  • Primark – positive sales growth, investing in physical shops (no website, interestingly). Will have its’ largest shop open in Birmingham for Christmas at 160,000 square feet. This brands knows exactly who their target customer is. Service is certainly not a premium offer but prices are hard to beat. Their mantra “Price is the main thing. Price is always front and centre”.
  • JD Sports – very similar to Primark.
  • Joules – Leicester-based company with sales up 18.4% for the year and 15 new shops opened. Less promotions, more stock sold at full price. Expanding overseas. Check out this video to “get” the brand (they certainly do):
  • Zara – a business model that keeps ahead of the pack and who manufactures a lot of what it sells, rather than outsourcing. This increases pricing competitiveness AND speed of response in the fast-moving fashion sector. They can react on a weekly basis as fast as ASOS!
  • Domino’s – a company that truly reacted to the trend of “eating in” and carefully “pitched” the brand to better capture the increasing numbers staying in and wanting to order food in.

So…any themes emerging here? Absolutely!

Know your customer, know your brand, make sure they are aligned and review and react constantly.

Don’t forget: The MIA are putting on ‘The Future of Music Retail’ workshops THIS WEEK in collaboration with Corin Birchall of Kerching! Retail.

Sessions will explore new opportunities for your team to sell profitable add on products and unique services.

The workshops will also share the ingredients for managers to develop extraordinary and future proof retail experiences that reverse the trend of declining footfall and profitability in your business.

The London event is happening today, but there’s still time to sign up for Coventry Tuesday 19th June, Leeds Wednesday 20th June & Manchester Thursday 21st June.

Reserve your free seat today for MIA retailer members, £149+VAT for non-members at