In recent years, campaigns have been galvanised to ‘save the High Street’. It seems everyone has a view about how we can revamp our down-at-heel towns and cities. But are they all missing the point?
Veteran retailer Bill Grimsey argues that it is already too late. The High Street, that we have grown to know and love, is as good as dead already. But who killed the High Street?
The indisputable truth is British towns and cities are losing their identity and dying off. Independent stores that were once vital to the fabric of towns are disappearing at a rate of 50 shops a week. Some towns now have as many as 24 per cent of their shops shuttered.
The time has now come to work out what happened, learn lessons from our mistakes and find a new way forward to make new and innovative use of our shattered town centres.
In Sold Out, Bill Grimsey uses insight gained from 45 years in the forefront of retailing at store giants, which include Tesco, Wickes, Iceland and Focus DIY, to expose the real reasons for the position we find ourselves in today.
Bill Grimsey started his retail career at the age of just 15 years old when he became a butcher’s boy. His first managerial job was at Bishops Food Stores, where he rose to become a director, before joining Tesco in 1986 in the new role of customer services director. In a varied and full retail career, Bill Grimsey went on to be chief executive of store groups both in the UK and abroad in South Africa and Hong Kong and has earned a reputation as a turnaround specialist. He gained particular attention for masterminding the recovery of DIY group Wickes, which had been at the centre of an accounting scandal that resulted in the suspension of its share price and the banks foreclosing. Another of these recovery roles was during Bill GrimseyÔÇÖs four years at the helm of Iceland, which was renamed The Big Food Group, and was later bought out by Icelandic investors Baugur Group. Most recently, he worked with private equity backers heading the Focus DIY chain. Bill Grimsey is an experienced public speaker.
This book is also available to download as a Kindle.