High street fallout

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Darina Kerr (Platform, 17 January) provides an interesting analysis of the decline of the high street. However, she fails to mention that UK retailers are not competing on a level playing field.

As the managing director of John Lewis has said in the past, UK-based retailers are finding it tough to compete with multinational online retailers that legally avoid paying tax in the UK.

Furthermore, business rates and rent tend to be greater in the town centres compared with the out-of-town shopping centres, therefore driving large retailers out of town. On the same day as HMV entered administration, here in Aberdeen an independent record store, One Up, also announced that it was closing.

This reflects the tough market conditions retailers are facing, but it will result in a rundown city centre.

There needs to be a co-ordinated plan of action by both national and local government to regenerate the British high street. It may be argued that this is a sign of the times, but it is not just the employees who will suffer it will also be society as a whole as many will end up living in isolation in ghost towns.

Robin Hall

Great Western Road 
Mannofield, Aberdeen

Surely, the secret of success for the small independent record/CD/DVD shop is accessibility, professional competence and personal service.

Take, for example, McAlister Matheson Music in Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, just a matter of 100 yards from the Usher Hall. I wanted to introduce my 11-year-old grandson to Baroque music. I phoned and got the boss, herself. We had a hilarious conversation as I ordered CDs of Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741) and Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654). These were posted out to my grandson with a personal note as from me within days. Imagine his bragging rights in the playground!

Rev Clifford Hughes

Rumbling Bridge

Perth and Kinross