Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Phones4U administration - more internet driven destruction?
When I say Way of Life, I really mean it. After over 200 years ago now Napoleon tried to insult the British by saying they were a nation of shopkeepers... it has been a long time that the UK has had a huge part of the economy in retail - understandable for such a traditionally strong trading nation.
However, the Internet is the biggest economic and social invention of recent ages, likely that it will become the biggest driver of change in the history of the world, equalling the industrial revolution.
And in many respects, change has come quickly. Only 15 years ago we had the dotcom bubble and plenty of people laughing at the failure of the Internet start-ups. Of course, over time, every single prediction about the net has come true; we all have broadband, most people use it every single day, it accounts for a large and growing amount of expenditure, it has gone mobile. The predictions seem to be about 5 years wrong every time in terms of practicality, but they come true in the end.
Now with Phones4U, a retail option of offering multiple service providers is gone. Instead the remaining networks will either sell themselves or over the Internet. Hundreds of shops and employees are going. Carphone Warehouse merged with Dixons, so their own shops are going the same way.
Phone shops have been ubiquitous on UK High streets for 20 years and their small spaces are not ideal for other venues so they will prove hard units to fill.
My thoughts are what is next for the Internet monster:
2. Estate Agents
3. Job Agencies
5. White Goods stores
I am unsure as to what remains in the very long-term apart from charity shops, coffee shops, bars and restaurants with a smattering of clothes shops.