NOTHING stays the same. We just have to change with the times.
That’s the message from Executive Director at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Richard Wright who has sympathy with those affected by shifts in shopping patterns but insists that changes will continue to accelerate.
“I don’t think it’s ever good to see gaps in the shops on the high street but what we are seeing is a massive move from shops to online retailing,” he said
“People like to go online and browse. I can’t remember the last time I went into HMV to look for something.
“The manufacturing sector in the ’70s and ’80s suffered because it didn’t move with the times and had to do a massive rebuilding job and now the sector is improving.
“We have to give customers what they want and people like to shop online.
“I think there are even bigger changes coming. It’s no different to what other sectors have gone through. No-one likes it but it’s change, it’s the way the world works.
“Nothing stays the same. If you look at the ones that are struggling it’s those that sell things that can be bought from another route.
“The clever thing is to try to anticipate change and give customers what they want. I’m always trying to see what’s coming up ahead and trying to anticipate what will be needed in five, 10 or 15 years, trying to anticipate what will change and what products we will need to be providing.
“A lot more retailers are struggling now. I think what we are seeing is a transformation in the way that the customer does business in the retail area.’’
How does he see the high street looking in 20 years?
“If I knew that I would make a fortune,” he said.
“I hate the fact that HMV and others like them could be going and that people might lose their jobs. But there will be more employed in packing goods and transporting them when they are ordered online.
“Jobs move around and that is what always happens as things change. As we keep moving new things come on board at the front and old things fall off the back.
“Compared to the way things were, we are moving at a completely different speed now. Everything will continue to change.”