I WRITE in response to the recent announcement that another major retailer, HMV, closes its doors in Burnley town centre.
It appears the demise of the town centre is in full flow, and the cycle of independent retailers being brushed aside to make way for multi-national retailing is now coming to grinding halt as the juggernaut of internet retailing stomps all over all that lies before it. Major players like Woolworths, TJ Hughes, Mothercare, felt the squeeze to the point of closure; the markets have gone from bustling trading establishments to nothing much more than independent businesses picking up the scraps from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda through loyal customers that still trouble to venture into town centres, despite the inflated parking costs and deteriorating services for them to enjoy.
The promise of a new shopping “experience” rumbles on, promises of exciting big name department stores never materialises and the rise of pounds shops and coffee bars have changed the landscape in Burnley, possibly forever.
However, I do wonder if, maybe, one day we will see a new town centre, where multi-nationals have taken their offers to cyberspace, leaving space for the return for independent traders to cautiously return to towns and offering the personal touch, individuality and the niche products and produce that people of Burnley may embrace.
However, I do only wonder, as I fear greatly the future for both independent and national retailers, is not places like Burnley and Colne, but destination super cities, and parks, and, of course, the internet.