Which is why it's bollox. That`s not insight. It's a snobbish perception & generalisation.
hang on fucknutts, why are my insights 'snobbish perceptions and generalisations' while yours are holy writ?
i've been to my 3 local town centres in the last two weeks, all were as i (and others) described, i walked past my local SportsDirect yesterday (going into M&S) and everyone i saw walking in or out was dressed in a tracksuit and baseball cap, as it has been every time i've ever walked passed one.
you can claim its not like that all you like, but nobody will believe you.
On the other hand, by rights Sports Direct should be empty - cheap tat with all the customer service of Purgatory, and yet its seemingly about to take over the world.
very different makets and customer base - your local climbing/paddling shop is visited by nice people who like nice places who therefore don't enjoy your average town centre these days: Sports direct on the other hand is visited by people who wear tracksuits and who enjoy being surrounded by passed out drunks, dogshit, litter and boarded up windows because it reminds them of home.
as Explorer says, the companies involved share common traits - they are, by and large, companies that sell relatively rubbishy products, employ sales staff who know nothing whatsoever about the products, but who's main draw is that they were in convenient locations - your local town centre, rather than sitting on the M6 for 3 hours to go gear shopping in Keswick.
however, the introduction of online retailing, mass participation online reviews, and the death of the high street because a) its a dump full of street drinkers, and pawn and betting shops, and b) the cost/hassle of parking in your local town centre, means that they are no longer in convenient locations you are likely to be. they are now shops selling crap, with crap service, and in places nobody goes - there's only one direction they are going to go.
imv the future of retail is is 'destination retail' - a place you can go that has the shops you want, with other things to do (pubs, attractions, cafés etc..) that is also a pleasant place to spend some time. i live in a nice enough medium-sized town in Worcestershire, however it has a high street like many others - pound shops, the unemployable, betting shops, 'we buy gold' signs everywhere, and nothing to suggest that this might be a nice place to potter about for a few hours spending money. so we drive to Ludlow, or Worcester, or Shrewsbury, or Gloucester, or even Bristol or Cirencester, nice places with things of interest, lots of nice, often independent, shops, with decent pubs and cafés where we can spend a good portion of the day shopping and putting money in the hands of businesses that provide good products and service in a place i actually enjoy being in.
if you aint that, i aint interested, and i'll get what i want online and have it delivered to my work the next day, all without the hassle of finding - and paying for - a parking space, walking amongst the dog shit and the undead, in a place that could only be improved by the outbreak of World War 3.