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Fire Sale:

We popped into Woolies today to see what they had left on the last day. They’d arranged a load of shelves about an eighth of the way into the shop so you couldn’t get any further. Everything else was piled into crates, ‘Everything in this crate 50p’ or stacked along the wall. ‘All DVDs £2, All CDs £1.’ Somebody could have picked up the most recent Arcade Fire and the Nirvana Unplugged CD for a couple of quid. They had one of those Columbia ‘Essential’ CDs, and had it been Bob Dylan I’d have given it a go, but it was the essential Santana so I left it behind.

I’ve got mixed feelings about Woolies closing down. Granted – there’s been a Woolies on the High Street since I was born, and I must have spent a fair bit of money there all told, but it had long since ceased to be a destination for anything in particular. Their last revamp shunted the DVDs and CDs to the back of the store, so you couldn’t just pop in and see what was out this week. It’s sad for the people who work there, and making them work through the period where the shop is closing down, well, it must feel a little like being at your own wake.

It does leave a huge hole in the middle of town though. Our Woolies was a big old branch – I can’t see what other stores would fill that size gap, except bloody Tesco, and I don’t think we need a Tesco in the centre of town.

And then we went to Zavvi, where, in addition to their usual January sale, they had 10% of everything in store (more or less). Which meant we were able to pick up S5 of The Wire for about £25, and could have picked up the full West Wing or Six Feet Under for £45.

It’s been a long time since I’ve spent much money in that store but in the old Virgin Megastore guise it used to eat up a fair chunk of my disposable income. I think the stores have been a bit too big since the transition to Zavvi – ours has been characterised by a very busy front of shop, and wide open spaces further back. The 10% offer smacked to me of desperation, and if they were to shut up shop as well as Woolies, that’s two huge holes in the middle of a Town Centre that already has loads of vacant shopfronts. It would need some imagination from somebody to work out how to turn this one around, and that’s something we’re lacking on a local level.

It’s a bit rubbish really.

4 comments to Fire Sale:

  • It’s sad. Woolies was pretty much the heart of the town I grew up in too. I may blog about this in a few weeks. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  • bod

    steve, you have a kid…you no longer have a disposable income!

  • Kev

    For a while Colchester lost its Woolies, and a big deal was made when they came back and took up the store that used to be Our Price. Unfortunately that was next to the Virgin Megastore, which is now a Zavvi, and so misery has come to Colchester’s main shopping square as two stores vanish from it and leave a gaping hole on one side. And Adams have a store on the other side of the square…

  • The demise of Woolies was certainly sad to see. In my home town of Doncaster, it’s right slap-bang in the centre as well. God only knows what will fill the gap in our current climate of business contraction and consolidation.

    I considered going there on their last day and throwing myself into the Pick’n'Mix display. I’ve wanted to do that since I was about 4-years old :-)

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