Monday, June 29, 2009
WHS: What's going on?
What's going on with WHSmith? For sometime now, I have noticed the one in my local town is on the decline. First of all, they closed the upstairs. It used to house quite a large music and video/CD department. Then I noticed a few months ago that they were bulking out the CDs and DVDs downstairs with empty cases to make it look as though there were more for sale than there were. They were also photocopying covers in black and white to insert in the cases.
On Saturday, I went in there to see if they had any Michael Jackson CDs and was astonished that the wall of CDs downstairs had disappeared. I asked a young man where they were and he pointed to a very small stand behind me. Then he informed me that they were going to stop selling them altogether in the near future.
This is like the end of an era. When I was a growing up, it was usually WHSmith or Woolies I went to look for my music [cassettes, singles and LPs back then of course.] In those days there was a special counter with someone serving just on the music department.
I don't know if this phenomenon of a decline is only happening in towns like mine where a big Tesco has been erected just yards away or if other WHSmiths in other towns are going the same way. The problem is that Tesco stocks practically all the same things that Smiths does and probably for a lot cheaper. It even sells some of the more specialist magazines.
Smiths was the place I used to go for my 'back to school/ or college' pens and papers, my weekly magazines and my music. Tesco isn't the same for me. It's a souless place. A giant engulfing the town and putting little businesses, well, out of business.
Dorothy Perkins left the town a couple of weeks ago and I hear that Burtons has either already gone or is on its way out. Of course we have them at the retail park, but again, that's not the same.
How long will it be before we see a piece of tumbleweed blowing down the High Street?