Online shopping major threat to Guernsey retail

ONLINE shopping has been labelled one of the major threats to Guernsey’s retail industry following the announcement that HMV was calling in administrators.

Tony Creasey is calling for more independent stores in Guernsey following the failure of national chains such as Jessops and HMV. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1295397)
Tony Creasey is calling for more independent stores in Guernsey following the failure of national chains such as Jessops and HMV. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 1295397)

ONLINE shopping has been labelled one of the major threats to Guernsey’s retail industry following the announcement that HMV was calling in administrators.

This is the verdict of Guernsey’s Chamber of Commerce as it reacted to the news that the iconic entertainment chain was the latest high street victim, putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Others in the local retail industry also warned that failing national chains could leave gaping holes in Guernsey.

Chamber of Commerce president Rupert Dorey said its recent retail survey had shown that online shopping was a threat to businesses in the island.

Creasey’s managing director Tony Creasey said that landlords in the past had perhaps preferred national chains to independent stores in the belief they were stronger businesses.

Comments for: "Online shopping major threat to Guernsey retail"

More Local Than You

Sorry Mr Creasey, but your business model is just simply out of date. Not just yours, but that of the High Street in general - and not just in Guernsey.

Online shopping is a threat to business everywhere - it doesn't take a survey to work this out surely?

Just as supermarkets took over business from the individual enterprises which all shut down, internet shopping will continue take over high street trade - for 99% of products. There are of course a few exceptions.

The internet offers more choice, consumer reviews, convenience, it's cheaper and will continue to eclipse retail spend on High Streets.

If Creaseys didn't own their buildings, am sure they too would have shut down due to crippling rents in St Peter Port and an outdated model - their business is very throwback.

As for the States legislating against UK firms coming to the island, that is simply ridiculous.

And as for HMV and the like (Clinton Cards, Jessops et al) leaving a "gaping hole" - what a load of bunkum.

How will we cope without overpriced DVDs/camera/birthday cards? The answer is just fine.

Guernsey needs to seriously think not about the "threat" of the internet or UK high street chains, but how it can be more self sufficient in terms of giving local and independent retailers/growers in enterprise which will benefit the island as a whole.

There is a lot the States should be doing in this area - forget all fireworks and trumpets that come out for the finance industry (which I incidentally work in), local (non-finance) enterprise needs a bigger profile on the island.


shops still have their uses. There is no substitute for going in to a shop and trying something on and seeing the product in all its glory.

You can then scan the bar code with the amazon app and see if its cheaper at amazon. If it is you order it and it arrives a day or 2 later. If not you buy it in store.

A le Page

In terms of seeing the wood etc, I must agree with you completely.

The main problem is that the island copied the appalling UK local government blueprint and

has graduated to the point where, we too, are run by box-ticking bullies; together with miserly landlords, they put numerous obstacles in the way of true local enterprise, which in a bizarre twist, provides them with a fat wad.

I recall a lot of manifestos, prior to the April elections, which promised support for Fred ITS and local business. Unless this I'm Alright Jack attitude can be changed, nothing else will.

When budding entrepreneurs ask my advice about starting up in Guernsey, there is generally one answer..forget it, and save yourself a headache and an empty bank balance.

More Local Than You

I too agree with the fact that there was a lot of hot air surrounding local enterprise during the April elections - none of which has transpired into any value or input by Deputies for those in Guernsey seeking to be establish and run their own businesses on the island.

Even a small trader is faced with crippling fixed costs in St Peter Port and even on the Bridge. Somewhere like the market is an ideal place for small traders to be given a chance to get a business up and running and take the pressure off the finance industry as Guernsey's golden goose. The States should be offering subsidies for people to get established. Where HMV currently sits, they could fit 30 - 40 small businesses in there.

The more I think about what has happened to our market, the more angrier I get.

I have no faith whatsoever in Kevin "the gob" Stewart as C&E minister, his appointment is a joke.

Oh Dear

Get rid of all high street shops, relocate premises to warehouses. Any empty shops in town could then be used for social housing. Simple as that. Although I don't know where to put the warehouses, maybe Belle Greve?

At the end of the day they just cannot cope with the internet prices. The cost of most things is equivalent to or higher than the UK where they pay VAT. People put this down to shipping fees, how do they think things get to the UK?

The high street is dead. High rents and overpriced goods made sure of that.


Having a web store can also be beneficial. I would say the headlines should read Greedy Landlords with High rents a major treat to Guernsey retail.

Valandra Bolan

I totally agree with you. So many shops could come and 'save town' but the fat cat greedy landlords want to line their pockets.

Oh Dear

Not much of a treat firestorm. :-)

More Local Than You

Just reading an article written by somebody that used to work for IBM (who were engaged by HMV to gain an online presence) on how HMV failed to embrace the online marketplace in the early years and how HMV management's intertia and lack of foresight with regards to online shopping lead to HMV's online presence wilting over the years.

The IBM worker suggested at the time he was engaged to work for HMV (back in 2004), HMV had the customer base/market share that would have easily seen them reach stratospheric online sales - however they failed to embrace this and their administration now proves how fatal this can be.

Island Wide Voting

Crikey.Are you suggesting that SOME consultants are actually worth their fee?


It is a very '90s attitude to consider the Internet as a threat. Why can't these high street shops consider the Internet as something to be exploited?

I would quite like to be able to browse the goods available in the high street online and consider my purchase, including the cost.

Shops could easily implement a 'reserve' feature for locals, even if they do not want to expand into deliveries.

If an item is not in stock, an e-commerce solution should be able to link with ordering so that the shop can say to me 'if we haven't got it, we can get it'.

Another idea, for the States or Chamber of Commerce, is to invest in a portal for local retailers. Where even, tell me, is a list of the local retailers from whom it is possible to order from online? Perhaps there is a deficiency in the promotion of local retailers.


This "story" is 15 years out of date, frankly it's an embarrassment to read what major retailers and the Chamber of Commerce have to say on the issue. The only thing missing is a comment from Jack "don't worry all the empty shops will be let soon" Honeybill.

With attitudes like that it's hardly surprising that retailers are closing down left, right and centre. Give it another 5 years and St Peter Port will be unrecognisable, with even more empty shops than there are now. Internet shopping is an unstoppable force, and as people's disposable income reduces in the coming years they will inevitably seek out better value than can be had on the high street.


Well said Phil. I cannot believe it took a survey to realise what the rest of us have known for years. I'm glad I didn't renew my corporate subscription to the Chamber of Commerce if this is the best they can come up with! I also agree with Nathan - there's no excuse for not going online these days. Other local small businesses are doing it, I noticed just today that Guernsey Coal are doing online orders now.

As for Mr Creasey talking about independent shops, he doesn't seem to have a problem bringing franchises over here that take business from small independent retailers. I don't have a problem with that per se, but I do find his entire approach full of double standards - like his support for the current Sunday trading restrictions whilst opening the St Martins M&S supermarket.


PLP, the opening of the St Martins M&S store was demanded by M&S. Creaseys had to agree to this as condition of their franchise agreement.


That makes it even worse IMO because he ditched his stated principle on Sunday trading for the franchise ie money.


Banfest - Hypothetically speaking I wonder what his view would've been if Waitrose had decided they wouldn't open here unless they were allowed to do so 7 days per week.


The most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency. W. Somerset Maugham


'ONLINE shopping has been labelled one of the major threats to Guernsey’s retail industry...'

and the car is a threat to the horse and cart, phones/emails to carrier pigeons, texts to talking etc etc.....

Astute observation, there, no wonder local retailers are doing do well (er-hem).....


Blockbusters has collapsed now.

Lucky locket

The biggest threat to the shops on the high streets of Guernsey is the lack of availability and basic customer service and service know-how.

Being told 'we can order it in for you, but you'll have to pay now' is not acceptable in this day and age, I can do that from the comfort if my chair.

Shops selling baby and children's items which are impassable with a buggy.

M&S where to make payment you have to negotiate stairs or a single small lift etc.

Oh Dear

The only way high street shopping is even remotely viable is:

Being fully stocked

Dropping the rents

Dropping the prices

Training staff

adequately (more than just a grunt would suffice)

Open longer hours

I finish work at 5.00 every weekday, if I want to buy something in town the only day I would have is Saturday but it's my weekend and I'd rather chill out than bus into town to get something they may or may not have at a price much higher than I could otherwise purchase it.


Self Employ or Working for the landlord!


Well you gotta say he's sharp that Creasey boy!

B Le Maitre

Totally agree re staff training and customer service. The High Street in Guernsey is pretty awful in terms of customer service. The sad thing is that polite and helpful staff seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

The attitude in shops in the UK seems different at the moment - you can have a degree and not get a job in Tesco!


Welcome to the 21st century.The age of the high street shop is ending. All shops can do is enter the e commerce age and hope for the best. I can't remember the last time I purchased anything in town. Amazon rocks I'm afraid, free postage and they deduct the vat.


No insight, no leadership, not a clue!


What a clever bunch Guernseys Chamber of Commerce are!

I'm sure no one in the island had already worked out that the internet is killing local retailers.

They would be more useful trying to find some way of helping the local retailers rather than just stating the obvious.


The rents in town are ridiculous (greedy landlords) and the staff costs are much higher than the UK. Staff are also very hard to find and recruit because so many people want to bore themselves to death working in the finance industry. The costs contribute to the fact that our local shops can not expect to compete with the likes of Amazon.

However do we really want to see the death of town because of people's insatiable desire to bag a bargain? To go into a local store and then go home and order the goods online is an unbelievably dishonest way to conduct yourself at the expense of the shop owner and at the risk of the staff in those shops losing their jobs.

The real problem is that people perceive it to be impossible to park in town and therefore they can not be bothered to go. It is not that bad to be honest. However, I think that we should all be very grateful that we have such a pretty and charming town - so much nicer than Jersey. We should support local business. We have some fascinating small shops opening up in town especially in the Mill Street area. There are some excellent cafes and coffee shops and plenty of independent retailers. They are all there for your convenience. We should make the most of it. Do we really want masses of empty shops on the high street.

Some of the posts above are incredibly rude to Mr Creasey - a family that have invested a fortune in ensuring we have a variety of shops in town and beyond under their franchise. Sometimes life isn't all about grabbing a bargain and feeling smug at saving a few pence - support local business!

More Local Than You

Some of the posts are rude to Mr Creasey?

Constructive criticism and analysis is hardly rude?

Mr Creasey may have invested a fortune, but am sure he and his family have made a fortune along the way.

I recall a very different High Street and town growing up, some of my highlights:

1. Number 19 (obviously)

2. Baker's Bazaar

3. Pioneer

4. Bucktrouts tobacconist

5. Sarnia Sports

6. Teleskill


Well if some of your highlights were No 19, Baker's Bazaar and the Pioneer shop I suspect that some of the newer shops that have opened in recent years are far too sophisticated for your liking.

No 19 was a smelly, overpriced boring shop that would never have survived in a UK town. Shops like White Stuff, Indica, Joules and Land of Green Ginger along with the various franchises under the Creaseys banner are the way forward. We have to move with the times not hark back to the dark ages! Guess you thought Gabriel's was amazing too? It was horrendous!


With you re Gabriel's Queen Bee. It really was horrendous.


QueenBee - You don't seem to like hearing any criticism of the Creaseys, even when the facts speak for themselves. Now you suggest they are the future of island retail. Do you have a vested interest in the Creaseys business?

In response to your first post I don't consider it rude to make observations. M&S opens on Sundays raking in the cash whilst Mr Creasey opposes liberalising Sunday trading, thus keeping his major competitor closed. These are facts.

Now he talks about wanting more independent retailers whilst his franchise stores undercut existing independents - one example is bread sales. Personally I don't have a problem with what he's doing but I think there is at least a hint of double standards.

Mr Creasey is a successful businessman and for that he deserves credit. That doesn't put him above criticism though.


Hey now, I will not have a word said against Number 19! It was charming, and many times I compared their prices to those of HMV and Number 19 always came out on top, despite HMV seeming to have everything on "sale" constantly. So none of this rubbish about it being overpriced. Simply not true.

Also, I used to go in there as a twelve year old and dream about working there when I was old enough... I thought it would be just like Empire Records :-) that shop was quite literally my teenage dream!


"They are all there for your convenience" ..... Ah so this is why they're all going bust, there was me thinking they were there to make a profit from their customers !!


I have no vested interest in Creaseys whatsoever although I do seem to spend a lot of money in Marks and Spencers! I don't even particularly like Creaseys department store tbh as it is a bit old fashioned and does not cater for a wide enough age range IMO. All I know is that if people like Mr Creasey were not prepared to invest money in our high street, including may I add a very good conversion of the old Woolworths store, then our high street would look a pretty sorry state.

St Peter Port is the jewel in Guernsey's crown and we need to realise that before it is too late.


Who would be in retail eh?

Dave Haslam

Diversify diversify diversify.

Step out of the box TC! You've had 15 years to react, if you cant beat em join em, come on Tony!! Just google 'business cliches' for your business plan, you have the resources, just do it!


retail in the town will always suffer because of the transport links . IE parking or the lack of buses the rents are always negotiable if you have a shop. Retailers need to give a reason for people to call in to the shop. i.e product/ service etc

.The point i will make is if you can't see it locally how you going to undercut it buy buying on the internet.Lets remember most top retailer despeck all there products for that reason and companies such as amazon don't sell top end .

in fact john Lewis .com guarantee they will never be under cut why because they have the buying power to demand a slight change in the product and no one else can sell it .

I mean come on people . I shop on the the internet because i'am lazy i don't scan in bar codes to save a tenner .You will lose shops soon then your out on you own

Dave Haslam


I would disagree with your point on negotiatble rents.

I know of 3 shops that have gone from town in the last year that have gone solely because they couldnt negotiate a rent redeuction. This is despite having had lenghthy periods as tenants, no history of late payments and a good relationship with the landlord.


Them days have gone where you had a choice of local friendly shops and cafes.

One cafe I was not aloud in was the guernsey kitchen cafe.that was for the big girls and boys.i had to drink my pop in bakers cafe.

The biggest lost in town was the market,fish veg,flowers and meat.

The good bus service into town Saturdays to spend the day window shopping as every shop was full of shoppers buying their choice of goods.

Them days have gone past through many reasons good or bad.

you can count how many shops are open on your fingers.I feel more shops will close when big sale or reduction sign takes up the shop windows

Reduction of christmas lights year after year through lack of sponsorship.[more empty shops]

Maybe some local business can open up catalogue shops for online ordering.

B Le Maitre

A rent on a small shop in the Pollet is c.50k. That's a phenomenal amount of money to make, before taking into account running a business and all the costs involved, plus making a living to keep a roof over your head.


Don't forget, Amazon are based in Luxembourg so they only pay 3% tax. They also have the buying power to be able to return unsold stock to suppliers that the small high street business would have to keep even if it didn't sell. I would also expect them to have preferential long term payment terms that the small retailer would not get.


Why don't Creaseys have an online shop & deliver?


Whenever I go to the UK I do enjoy wandering around shopping centres/ malls visiting stores that give a lot more choices as regards goods and prices.

Here I really don't get that pleasure and therefore make online purchases whenever I can, mostly from Amazon.

Their service is fantastic, and throughout the years, I have had no trouble at all especially where I have had to make a return.

Not only is their service brilliant, but I have also saved so much money by not paying vat/carriage.

Sme people will criticise me, but I will not pay the prices charged over here, especially on cameras and equipment, do you homework you will see what I mean.

kurt nadler

Online shopping a threat to retail outlets??- Absolutely! recent example,need for replacement of garden mower-Guernsey dealer( should remain nameless )asking for £ 189.00 plus freight to Alderney -identical Item -Amazon £88.50 ,free delivery to the door.

No contest!


I had cause to use a local computer shop this week, so off I set to the Bordage, great service, friendly and helpful and very very reasonably priced. I might have been able to get the bits cheaper at Amazon, but they would not have made sure it was all working and correctly installed.

Sometimes it's good to just

shop local..