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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2013
I had such high hoes of this book, it felt it was sadly l as lacking. At times I had to check that I hadn't already read a chapter as there was so much repetition. It almost felt like the author had run out of words by the end.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy parts, and my dislike of banks remains strong, but I was disappointed with the outcome
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on 28 November 2013
I had to read this book after reading Malcolm Walkers Iceland story. There are after all, always two sides to a story,.

However, while the book has some sensible points, how Bill Grimsey, with a trail of failed retail debris in his wake, can hold himself up in a position of authority about e state of the high street is a joke.

Save your money and don't bother reading this book.
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on 16 October 2012
"We cannot `save' the High Street. Tragic though it is, the High Street is as good as dead already. Whatever we do and however we do it, our town centres will never be the same again. In fact, most High Streets of the future will be unrecognisable from your (and my) fond memories of times gone by. Believe it or not, many may not even have shops in years to come."

Veteran retailer Bill Grimsey comes out fighting in a no-holds barred shake-up of the debate on High Streets and retail regeneration in his feisty and practical book "Sold Out". I love his take on the whole debate. At last, we have someone with inside knowledge (and 45 years experience) sticking his neck out and swimming against the tide of rose-tinted blether, emphasising strongly that nostalgia is not a foundation for building anything and telling it straight that politicians and celebrities ("puppets and clowns") should back off.

If retailing needs a "Big Bang" moment, then this is a hand grenade of a book that should be studied, absorbed and thumbed extensively across the industry until the pages disintegrate. Forget nostalgia, here is a 224-page solid basis for clear thinking and decisive action. Forget Portas Pilots. This is the Grimsey Grrrr!

In my own experience in retail management and, more recently as a writer and blogger, the same truth keeps emerging - customers decide what happens to retailing and retailers. Customers might be manipulated, persuaded and brainwashed by clever marketing, bandwagon spin, Government guilt-trip propaganda et al, but customers are where the cash is and trying to shame or force them into becoming devoted and loyal local community saviours is just pie in the sky.

As Bill Grimsey points out, many town centre retailers and local authorities have not moved with the times. In my town, for example, with many complaints and grumbles about car parking blatantly evident, the council increased charges. Bonkers. Some businesses too are stuck in a quagmire of outdated cultures run by old-fashioned managers, or egos out of reality's loop. What happened in the past and, indeed, what is happening in the present with some leaders is not necessarily preparing companies for a challenging future.

Bill Grimsey does not let consumers off the hook either. He points out that we have all played a role in the demise of High Streets and that we have ended up with the town centres we deserve because of our actions and choices. Consumers have become accustomed to tempting special offers from supermarkets and are attracted to the variety and free parking of out-of-town shopping centres because decision-makers in High Streets and council corridors
have lost the plot. Keep up or die? Sadly, through inertia, some have decided to die. I had a chuckle at the analogy of TV's "Catweazle", magically transported from a dim and distant past into a mind-blowing and incomprehensible world of innovation and technology. There is something stopping us from getting our heads round reality. Bill Grimsey's head is clear:

"The truth is, in all the soul searching about the future of our High Streets, all the exhortations to "use it or lose it" and chintzy ideas about pop-up shops, market days and who knows what, we've all been missing the point. No one wants the High Street anymore."

If your head is stuck firmly in the sand, it would be pointless to buy this or any book because it's too dark to read anything where you are. But, if you are open-minded, if you want plain speaking, this is the book for you. If you want a template for practical activity, this is the book for you. If you want a business book that is both entertaining and enthusiastic about progress, this is for you.

Bill Grimsey, it seems to me, is barking up the right tree. Grrrr!
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on 17 May 2015
Bill really should stick to what he knows which is running high volume shed-based retail. A great deal of time is taken describing the problem which is hardly ground breaking. When it comes to suggested solutions, the book rapidly tails off with little to offer and a lack of understanding of the differences between local and central government regulation. Nothing to say about the high street other than "something must be done!".
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on 26 April 2013
Bill grimsey is full of crap how can he write a book called sold out when he caused focus to close down and nearly shut Iceland and wickes
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on 27 January 2013
It is great to see a book written by an alleged super veteran retailer however its a darn shame how focus DIY went insolvent the day after the most busiest day of the DIY retail year. The only way I can describe the way retail veteran ran focus DIY was more like the Gestapo.
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on 17 April 2014
Not only the best description of how we got here, but also a prescription for the future. Bill Grimsey knows his stuff after a lifetime in retail.
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on 28 October 2012
I had high expectations of this book following its mention on Radio 4. The author brings his extensive retail experience to bear as he focuses on the fate of our High Streets. He has many fascinating anecdotes from his days heading up large retail chains, and is brutally frank about the shortcomings in managerial thinking.
However in all that lies his weakness. He mentions no experience of what it is like to actually build up and run a small-medium size business single handed and he writes pretty much exclusively from the point of view of the boardroom, which he often mentions. Its true that retail is retail and much of what he says is sound but it did at times seem rather remote to me.
His predictions for the future are excellent-more online shopping and a progressive death of shopping centres after just a few years as they are overtaken by ever newer ones. He also correctly identifies the fact that a conspiracy between consumers(wanting cheaper and cheaper) and retailers (seeking to get business)underlies unhealthy trends in the thinking of many in the UK ("Its my right/Its not my fault").
His closing section when he suggests alternative uses for High Streets were .... well make up your own mind!

All in all a good read - 8/10 for content, 10/10 for effort.
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on 3 May 2015
Full of own importance
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on 4 June 2013
Whether your a retail expert or just an interested consumer, you'll be captivated by Bill Grimsey's insight into the past, present and future of British retailing and it's High Streets.
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