Tuesday, 15 January 2013

# 8 (2013) The Relevance Of Your High Street

Yet another well known high street brand has gone into administration - HMV. And no wonder. At every turn it has been undercut by online sales and limited product range and it doesn't seem to have made much of an effort to adjust to its customers needs.

Whilst on the high street earlier today I was surprised by the choice of business starts ups in time of recession. Replacing the budget style Lamb and Flag restaurant/pub which closed last week is Carluccios, an overpriced Italian offering nothing more than its rivals on the same street. And with main meals averaging £11- £14 a go I suspect its presence will be short lived and received without enthusiasm.

Brayford Restaurants (source)
You see Lincoln, for those of you who don't know, is essentially a student town. For nine months of the year it plays host to around 8000 of them and any business starting up in the town would be well advised to take this into consideration. But even students are affected by recession. Most of their funds go on rent, food and entertainment.

Lincoln is predominantly made up of bars, clubs, clothing outlets, charity shops, pound shops, cheap brand outlets and restaurants. There are a few essential services such as the post office, a few artisan outlets (particularly in the uphill region) and the odd craft shop but nothing terribly formidable.

The arrival of one of Wagamamas flagship stores at the end of last year anticipated strong business. But situated on the Brayford Pool next to the Doubletree Hilton, Sports Bar, Starbucks, Harvester, Nandos, Prezzo, Ask, Zizzi, Handmade Burger Co, Chimichanga, The Barge on the Brayford, The Square Sail and the William IV pub (do you see where I'm going with this?) it should have anticipated problems. As it is, I don't think I've ever seen it sporting healthy customer numbers and to be honest most of these outlets look pretty empty most of the time. And this isn't even the high street.

Site of Carluccios on the High Street (source)
So Carluccios with its trendy Italian dining has a lot to contend with if it wants to survive alongside its Italian competitors Pizza Express, La Bottega and Pomodoro E Basilico. And as with all restaurants in the city it has to match up to places like Yo-Yos - the chinese buffet restaurant with all you can eat for less than £8. No contest. 

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