As businesses and high-street retailers join the race to reinvent themselves, an analysis of consumer loyalty trends in Britain over the four years since 2009 shows that the days of pleasure shopping and retail therapy are behind us - as bargain hunting and rampant discounting have become the norm in a tough economy.
The warning for Blockbusters, HMV, Jessops, Comet, and whichever major high-street company will fall into administration next, was issued four years ago. Woolworths was there as a very early example of failing to adapt to the demands of customers and should have served as a wake-up call to other high street chains.
Recessions mean bankruptcies, and bankruptcies in the retail sector mean boarded up high streets. Between 2008 and 2010 the number of empty shops has gone up five fold. Only one shop in 40 was empty in 2008, but the rate is now one in seven. It is higher still in some places - one in five in the north west as a whole, one in four in Blackburn, Grimsby, and Walsall, and one in three in Margate.