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Ian Allan Model Shop at Waterloo to close


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That’s a great pity.  Good place to check new titles, and often find some tempting discounts.  I need to check what’s accumulated on my loyalty cards!

Edited by EddieB
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Very sad but not particularly unexpected especially after the incident there in January. I used to go there often during my six years at university, hoping over the Thames from the LSE after lectures. Not the biggest selection but they had the basics.

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So Ian Allan finally cut their link with Railways, that from which they originated.

How the mighty have fallen.

 

42 minutes ago, EddieB said:

 I need to check what’s accumulated on my loyalty cards!

 

I've still got some on my Birmingham card but I won't be visiting Waterloo again, so I might as well chuck it.

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Im wondering if Covid, and the resultant move towards home working will result in retail property rents being significantly cut?

 

we’ve reached a point where you can only afford the rent if you sell coffee, sandwiches or noodles.

 

that market is going to shrink significantly and can only put downward pressure on leases

 

perhaps I could set up a second outlet in an old abandoned Pret!

Edited by Trains4U
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9 minutes ago, Trains4U said:

Im wondering if Covid, and the resultant move towards home working will result in retail property rents being significantly cut?

 

we’ve reached a point where you can only afford the rent if you sell coffee, sandwiches or noodles.

 

that market is going to shrink significantly and can only put downward pressure on leases

 

perhaps I could set up a second outlet in an old abandoned Pret!

 

It all depends on the financial situation of the landlord. If they have borrowed to buy the premises, they are in trouble. Reducing the rent will reduce the value of the building and breach their banking covenants. Sympathetic (not) bank then steps in and finishes them off.

 

Happened so many times in the 2008 financial crash and it is now becoming clear that, in some cases, criminal activity may have been involved. There have been some seriously large out-of-Court settlements. The banks have not wanted any Court case that set a precedent. One of the most successful people in getting these compensation awards is a former bank manager who resigned in disgust at the banks' behaviour.

 

For many businesses, business rates is as much of a problem as the rent.

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Like many people who used to visit the Ian Allan shop at Waterloo, I must confess to the occasional "impulse buy", something you cannot do online. Also it is nice to look at a book or magazine before you buy. It is a real shame, but I think with this Covid-19, this will be just the tip of the iceberg, where minority interest shops are unsustainable.

 

A real shame. 

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6 hours ago, Trains4U said:

Im wondering if Covid, and the resultant move towards home working will result in retail property rents being significantly cut?

 

we’ve reached a point where you can only afford the rent if you sell coffee, sandwiches or noodles.

 

that market is going to shrink significantly and can only put downward pressure on leases

 

perhaps I could set up a second outlet in an old abandoned Pret!


I don’t think you are wrong there Gareth , but would you want to relocate to the centre of town?  I think Covid has caused a seismic shift the full implications of which have not been thought through .  My feeling is there will be less demand for office and retail space in town. Many of us can quite happily work from home, and I think that’s been a revelation to employers , who are maybe now only catching on they don’t need these big shiny expensive offices .  That means the supporting retail will also suffer.  I think with Covid people are reluctant to use public transport instead preferring their personal bubble transport ie the private car . So it maybe that out of town locations with parking space will become the model shop of the future, if we are not already there.

 

I’m sorry for any of the staff who are losing their jobs . Anytime I was in London I made a point of visiting Ian Allan. Used to be a big name in transport publishing, is there anything left any more? . Was it Motorbooks  that also used to be between Picadilly and Trafalgar Sq ?  Really the centre of London is now a bit of a retail wasteland for model railway or transport enthusiasts . So a sad day , but regrettably it’s part of the trend . 

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I used to be based at Waterloo before I retired, and spent many hours (and quite a bit of money) in IA, before I retired.

On the way back to KGX on the bus after work, I often mused that London never had any "proper" shops, just food establishments (takeaways, restaurants, coffee shops, corner groceries etc), and the "minor non-shops" (banks, estate agents, hairdressers, dentists etc). A couple of times I did a quick count out of the window, I think the total was only just over 20 for the whole journey for ordinary shops. It was quite a change sometimes to have a job out-of-town, say Chesham, Watford, or similar, and wander down the High St, more like being back home!

 

Stewart

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I also think that this is driven by a fundamental lack of interest in the business from the owners.

 

This miserable closure is a very sad final nail in the coffin, and I feel for Kerry and all the staff who I think have done a great job over the last few years.

 

Ian Allan have form, anyone remember the fabulous operation Midland Counties? A really good business that was taken over by Ian Allan who then totally scewed it before closing it down, disgusting.

 

Simon

 

Who still has a bookshop

Edited by Not Jeremy
too many sads
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11 hours ago, Legend said:


I don’t think you are wrong there Gareth , but would you want to relocate to the centre of town?  I think Covid has caused a seismic shift the full implications of which have not been thought through .  My feeling is there will be less demand for office and retail space in town. Many of us can quite happily work from home, and I think that’s been a revelation to employers , who are maybe now only catching on they don’t need these big shiny expensive offices .  That means the supporting retail will also suffer.  I think with Covid people are reluctant to use public transport instead preferring their personal bubble transport ie the private car . So it maybe that out of town locations with parking space will become the model shop of the future, if we are not already there.

 

Speak for yourself, Legend. I actively avoided visiting any shop not easily accessible by public transport before, and just the same now. Living where I do in Croydon, I even do most trips to B&Q and IKEA by tram (and simply don't visit other retail sheds because they're not accessible by public transport).

 

The social distancing concerns we have right now are only short term, and I'm sure we'll have forgotten them in a year or so (whether by vaccine, eventually effective test and treatment, or 'herd immunity'). 

 

But the impact of online shopping on retail is anything but short term. And out of town strip mall / retail sheds are just as, if not more vulnerable, to that. There are proportionately just as many vacant and derelict strip mall units as there are in town centres, around here, anyway.

 

Shopping in person in a brick and mortar store is becoming something you do by active choice, usually because it is pleasant in some way, or you can combine with other things you want to do.

 

So why drive to a retail shed, only to fight through traffic to get to the next turning off the dual carriageway for the other retail shed you need to visit, when you can buy those things online? (Unless it's during a pandemic and you can't get a delivery slot, that is).


Whereas town centres will always offer the chance to visit the barber, the yoga studio, the coffee shop, the art gallery, at the same time. The better planned "shopping villages" work well in this respect too, and perhaps with a better balance of parking and other types of accessibility than some old town centres. The reason we have towns and town centres, geographically speaking, is that they are nodal points, and nodal points are where it is viable to concentrate services.

 

The form town centres take will change, and as @Joseph_Pestell pointed out, there are a lot of reasons why we have inertia preventing changes that a functional market would allow. (I.e. the especially British situation of property being first and foremost a vehicle for speculation and security for loans). Hopefully we'll see some landlord bankruptcies that will unlock the lowering of commercial property prices and rents - but there is just too much vested interest for that to happen yet - which is why we see so many vacant shops.

 

J

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3 minutes ago, justin1985 said:

 

The form town centres take will change, and as @Joseph_Pestell pointed out, there are a lot of reasons why we have inertia preventing changes that a functional market would allow. (I.e. the especially British situation of property being first and foremost a vehicle for speculation and security for loans). Hopefully we'll see some landlord bankruptcies that will unlock the lowering of commercial property prices and rents - but there is just too much vested interest for that to happen yet - which is why we see so many vacant shops.

 

J

 

Let's be careful what we wish for. When it comes to shopping malls and large town centre properties, the investors are mostly institutions such as pension funds and, increasingly, local authorities. If they fail, we all suffer the consequences.

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17 minutes ago, justin1985 said:

Speak for yourself, Legend. I actively avoided visiting any shop not easily accessible by public transport before, and just the same now. Living where I do in Croydon, I even do most trips to B&Q and IKEA by tram (and simply don't visit other retail sheds because they're not accessible by public transport).

 

That's because you live in London where there is excellent public transport. Head out to the rest of the country where the provision is at best patchy and you have a car, or you don't leave the house.

 

There ARE locations for specialist shops, but the town centre isn't likely to be one as the rents and rates will be far too high. However, there are numerous tiny, local shopping centres in small towns that will be cheaper, offer parking and be near enough population centres that people will travel. I cover one here: https://philsworkbench.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-perfect-shop-location.html 

 

Places like this date from the days before supermarkets when you'd have several small shops for meat, fish, bread etc. Now you go to the supermarket, or the single mini-mart in the row and the rest of the units stand empty apart from a hairdresser.

 

Very sad about IA though. It's a fantastic looking shop with an excellent range.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

Let's be careful what we wish for. When it comes to shopping malls and large town centre properties, the investors are mostly institutions such as pension funds and, increasingly, local authorities. If they fail, we all suffer the consequences.

 

When the real world value of assets (i.e. shops themselves) has fallen, and there is no prospect of that changing, something has to give. Either banks accept revaluation of loans etc, or landlords go bust - I don't see any way for the status quo to continue much longer.

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7 minutes ago, Phil Parker said:

 

There ARE locations for specialist shops, but the town centre isn't likely to be one as the rents and rates will be far too high. However, there are numerous tiny, local shopping centres in small towns that will be cheaper, offer parking and be near enough population centres that people will travel. I cover one here: https://philsworkbench.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-perfect-shop-location.html 

 

 

Completely agree that the "secondary location" in a town, as per Richer Sounds, is ideal for model shops, Phil. But there is a broader point that rents for shops in all locations, including London, would be cheaper if they were set by actual demand for those shops, rather than financial markets creating such distortions.

 

I called in to Ian Allan quite often, and always came out with something. It was even better when there was that rather random discount Book Warehouse on the corner next to the old Fire Station pub, which also tended to have lots of railway books (including many "serious" ones) - presumably they deliberately catered to the people visiting Ian Allan around the corner. I think that shop became a Pret, funnily enough?

 

Lower Marsh felt quite seedy until relatively recently, which is kind of surprising really. But as it got more gentrified, Ian Allan felt more and more out of place. It was a bit of a secondary location, despite being central, but no longer. It's a great shame, but not all that surprising.

 

J

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15 minutes ago, justin1985 said:

 

When the real world value of assets (i.e. shops themselves) has fallen, and there is no prospect of that changing, something has to give. Either banks accept revaluation of loans etc, or landlords go bust - I don't see any way for the status quo to continue much longer.

 

If too many business go bust, banks major will also fail.  That would force the government to step in to prevent the entire economy from collapsing.  The question is what they would do about the problem.  If there is not enough demand for shops and offices the supply of such premises needs to reduce to match.  Boarded up buildings soon become derelict and if they are structurally sound and fit for some other purpose, that is what should happen.

 

We are always being told there is an acute housing shortage in this country.  Where business premises are no longer in demand, there must be scope to convert some of them to residential use as has happened with former dockside warehouses in various parts of the country,  If you can convert those into attractive places to live, you can probably convert most city centre buildings.  And yes, some such as multi storey car parks don't adapt, so demolition and new build will be needed too.  Conversion and construction work would create jobs when we have an imminent unemployment crisis.  It would also require funding of course - which could well mean the government has to print yet more money.  It's analogous to the housing situation after WW2 - though it took over a decade before Macmillan was able to say you've never had it so good.  But we didn't finish repaying loans for that war until 2006.

 

 

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Although the specific reason for closure has been given as Covid, it is very clear that Ian Allan had been pulling out of transport publishing/model sales for a long time. I understand that the Waterloo shop is owned freehold, [Apparently the shop is on a lease] the shop did not do internet sales so no alternative channels were or are available during closure/reduced footfall. In that sense, I wouldn't read this closure as typical of the issues facing every model shop.

Edited by andyman7
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1 hour ago, Michael Hodgson said:

  And yes, some such as multi storey car parks don't adapt, 

 

Back in 2010 when I was working in Stockholm a couple of mates shared a flat in the city centre which was indeed  converted from  a multi-storey car park. To say some of the rooms were odd shapes is something of an understatement!

 

Here in Fleet there's office blocks being converted into flats all over the place, for that matter my youngest daughter and her boyfriend live in a flat converted from an office block in St. Albans (cost more than my 4 bed detached house  on the South Coast  :blink: )

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2 hours ago, justin1985 said:

 

 I actively avoided visiting any shop not easily accessible by public transport before, and just the same now. Living where I do in Croydon, I even do most trips to B&Q and IKEA by tram (and simply don't visit other retail sheds because they're not accessible by public transport).

 

 

You are very much in the minority.

 

I live in Worcestershire but can get to the West Midlands easily by bus (but only hourly and not on Sundays), where there is excellent public transport, but try visiting any more than one model shop and you will find it's difficult.

 

B&Q & Ikea are a no no because you can't carry timber/paint/compost/kitchen cabinet  back home on the bus!:no:

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11 minutes ago, melmerby said:

You are very much in the minority.

 

Oh I'm very much aware I'm at an extreme end of minimal car use, and I'm lucky with public transport options I have. My point was just that because some people have felt driven to use cars more by COVID, that doesn't apply to everyone.

 

We have access to a car, basically shared with relatives down the road, but we use it even less than ever. In fact lockdown helped us realise the milkman delivers compost at a very reasonable price - one less reason to visit the retail sheds!

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I would visit this shop if I ever had cause to go to London for work purposes, time permitting of course, and perhaps once a year would have a special book shop trip to places such as: Charing X Road, Motor Books and Ian Allan's.  The other shop at the corner of Lower Marsh mentioned above was also worth visiting and they do (did?) have other branches including one in Southampton Row or thereabouts.  There is a limited railway selection at the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden.  I also used to go to Kings Cross Models and W&H in New Cavendish Street but those visits were very many years ago.  I never managed to get to Bond's O' Euston Road but did visit them occasionally after they moved to Sussex where they had a small area at the back of a rather good ironmonger's, alas they too are gone.  On the plus side, there are still some very dedicated railway book shops and publishers who have very good on-line ordering systems although it's never the same as being in a shop and seeing the books themselves and occasionally picking up interesting looking titles.

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3 hours ago, justin1985 said:

 

Speak for yourself, Legend. I actively avoided visiting any shop not easily accessible by public transport before, and just the same now. Living where I do in Croydon, I even do most trips to B&Q and IKEA by tram (and simply don't visit other retail sheds because they're not accessible by public transport).

 

The social distancing concerns we have right now are only short term, and I'm sure we'll have forgotten them in a year or so (whether by vaccine, eventually effective test and treatment, or 'herd immunity'). 

 

 


ahh that’s where we may disagree . You see I’m thinking we may have to live with this for sometime  so not short term at all .  Covid is spreading again . I am on the outskirts of Glasgow , so already I have restrictions , but in today’s news they are talking about Birmingham and Liverpool .  So given these circumstances I’d rather opt out of public transport where I’m sharing space with strangers , or head into the centre of cities .  Herd immunity is a nonsense , for a start it assumes that the disease does noT recurr after you’ve had it. It’s far from certain it does give you immunity, but it also assumes that we accept the loss of a certain % of the population , which I’m certainly not prepared to accept. 

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