Last week, we reported that stationery favourite Paperchase is going to administration and its branch in Coney Street will close.
Paperchase is the latest in a long list of big-name stores that have disappeared from our shopping streets in recent years – but which ones do we miss the most?
Believe it or not, a survey has been undertaken to reveal the answer. We wonder if you agree with the findings?
A new study by Raisin UK has analysed social media data relating to our favourite brands to find out which ones we really do miss the most.
Here are the results:
1. TOYS R US – closed 2018
Most missed is Toys R Us, once the nation’s best-loved toy shop. The company closed its Clifton Moor store in 2018. Dozens of workers in York joined the 3,000 across the country who lost their jobs when Toys R Us exited the British high street. The troubled toy retailer had to close all 100 of its UK stores after administrators failed to find a buyer.
The store may be gone – but not forgotten and is ranked as our ‘most-missed’ high street shop according to Raisin’s research.
Out of 149.7k posts analysed online, almost eight in ten people reacted with ‘love’ to the toy brand, showing this retailer – which had been part of many childhoods – continues to be thought of fondly by many of us today.
Toys R Us opened its first UK store in 1985 and once had more than 105 stores across the country. The stores were huge retail units consisting of everything from board games, bikes and all the latest crazes. Not only was it a one-stop shop for birthdays and Christmases, it also sold parenting essentials such as pushchairs as part of its Babies R Us business.
In 2022, it was announced that Toys R Us would be reopening in the UK, online and in WHSmith stores across the country. The Toys R Us and Babies R Us UK website relaunched before Christmas, with retailer WHSmith to launch a ‘small scale trial’ of Toys R Us areas in nine of its high street stores at the beginning of this year.
READ MORE: York’s disappearing high street – shops we ‘lost’ in 2022
READ MORE: ‘We’re closing – and everything is for sale’ – York shop closes amid ‘crisis’
2. WOOLWORTHS – closed in York 2008
It was the end of an era when Woolworths closed its shop in Coney Street, York in 2008.
Three years earlier, it had also called time on its branch at Monks Cross.
The closures marked a change in our high street for ever. Where else would you find a bag of pick ‘n’ mix, a wardrobe of children’s clothes and a new CD all under one roof?
With 44 per cent of people reacting that they loved the news about the return of the brand on social media, it proves Woolies still has a place in all our hearts.
Unsurprisingly, Woolworths became a hot topic after it was rumoured in 2020 it was to make a comeback. The rumour turned out to be a hoax.
Boots is now in the former Woolworths building in Coney Street
3. MOTHERCARE – closed in 2020
Mothercare is a huge retailer for parents across the UK, therefore, it would come as no surprise that 56 per cent of people engaged with a ‘sad’ reaction to the brand’s collapse when it was announcement on social media.
In November 2019, Mothercare announced it was to close its UK business after calling in administrators. The company, which opened its first store in 1961, had frequently struggled to compete with cheap supermarket clothing ranges and the rise of online shopping.
Mothercare had previously been part of the Storehouse Group which consisted of Mothercare, Habitat and BHS, but the group broke up when BHS was sold to Sir Philip Green.
Many parents had huge emotional attachments to the brand, with Mothercare being the leading childrenswear chain in the UK.
Mothercare has since completed a franchise deal with Boots, meaning the pharmacy chain can now sell Mothercare-branded products within Boots stores, allowing the brand to return to the high street. The Mothercare website has now also moved to the Boots website, allowing new parents to continue to purchase from the brand as usual.
In York, Mothercare originally was at Clifton Moor Retail Park, but closed in favour of a new store at Monks Cross. The Monks Cross store opened in 2019 as part of the shopping park’s refurbishment, but only stayed open for six months before the retailer collapsed.
4. BLOCKBUSTER – closed 2013
Blockbuster is still in a very well-deserved place in our nostalgia list, with 45 per cent of people reacting with ‘love’ for the brand. It collapsed into administration back in 2013 with the loss of 528 stores.
It joined several other brands including Jessops, HMV (which survived administration again, and again, and again) and electrical chain Comet in being affected by online competition.
Blockbuster was known for being a place of happiness, especially when going to rent a bunch of movies for a sleepover with your friends. You could spend hours walking up and down the aisles, reading the back of every case trying to pick a selection to rent with your blue Blockbuster card.
Could we ever see a return of Blockbuster? Sadly, probably not. With online streaming services such as Netflix and Disney Plus, a revival of Blockbuster would be for pure nostalgia and zero convenience. Netflix doesn’t charge any late fees after all!
The Blockbuster store on Haxby Road closed in 2013, and later reopened as a local convenience store.
5. BHS (BRITISH HOME STORES) – closed in 2016
With 30 per cent of people reacting ‘sad’ to the collapse of the brand, British Home Stores (affectionately known as BHS) is much missed today.
It was one of our largest department store chains selling clothing and household items. In its later years, BHS expanded into furniture, electronics, entertainment, beauty and even convenience groceries.
BHS was part of the Arcadia Group, managed by Sir Philip Green who later sold BHS for £1 in March 2015.
However, all BHS stores closed by late August 2016, being the British high street’s biggest retail collapse after Woolworths.
In 2020, Sports Direct opened in the former BHS store in Coney Street.
What stores do you miss? Share your memories in the comments below or in our nostalgia group on Facebook, Why We Love York – Memories. Click here to join today