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Dress Circle (Londons Musical Theatre Shop) Closing For Good August 15Th


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#1 Titan

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:25 AM

According to John Yaps Facebook

#2 simon from oxford

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:13 AM

In many ways this is a great shame - it used to be a very good outlet.  However in recent years, they have not coped with the challenges of online competition and their prices have increasingly become uncompetitive.

I can't honestly remember when I last bought something from them - and I know I am not alone in that.

Yes, they have achieved much but you can't continue to trade on past glories.

Perhaps they will continue as an online shop - but if they do, they will have to drop their prices to be more inline with their competition.

#3 Zippy

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:27 AM

I think it's time for them to go and concentrate on being an online store. They faced the same issue last year, a benefit concert was held to keep it open and a year later they have still failed to address their issues. Am not even sure whatever happened to all the money raised from that concert which was a sell-out and how was it spent.
Their prices are way too high, a lot of the time they're badly stocked with no or very little merchandise from a lot of new shows and lots of old merchandise from shows that have closed and many people would see something they like and get it far cheaper on Amazon. It looks uninspiring and tired. Some of the staff were also quite rude and there was a lot of bitching going on amongst them sometimes.
It will be sad to see it close, it's a haven to theatre-goers but that's the reality for loads of other retailers in a recession. Not many retailers get a fundraising concert and extra time and funds to restructure their business model. Hopefully they can do better as an online store, stock a much better selection of items both from past and current shows, and provide a good customer service by ordering items for people and be more competitive as their costs will be much lower.

#4 theatremole

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:26 PM

I was told that the majority of the money went on paying for the orchestra.

I used to enjoy going in, but you had to time it carefully - some of the counter staff were very unhelpful and it felt like you were being 'judged' for not buying the latest fringe musical soundtrack.

Price wise, I pointed out once that I could get the Addams Family cast recording for £9.99 from Amazon whereas it was about £30 on their website. Their argument was that it was in stock in the shop but you had to wait 2weeks delivery from Amazon....not much of an argument, I'd happily wait 2weeks if I only paid £9.99 including delivery!

#5 djp

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:20 PM

View Postsimon from oxford, on 31 July 2012 - 10:13 AM, said:

In many ways this is a great shame - it used to be a very good outlet.  However in recent years, they have not coped with the challenges of online competition and their prices have increasingly become uncompetitive.

I can't honestly remember when I last bought something from them - and I know I am not alone in that.

Yes, they have achieved much but you can't continue to trade on past glories.

Perhaps they will continue as an online shop - but if they do, they will have to drop their prices to be more inline with their competition.

The problem is bigger. No one can compete with competition thats ofshore to avoid VAT, can arrange its tax  affairs to minimize exposure,  , employs few staff, doesn't have sales premises attracting rent and rates, and can buy and negotiate in bulk. The result of people following their own economic interest and buying cheaper is inevitable - fewer jobs,   less government revenue and empty shops all over the country. That of course feeds into the current economic mess - which means shows closing,   gaps with empty theatres, empty seats.,  cheaper shows coming in, more actors unemployed, less risk taking and more name casting to try and break even. Its a microcosm of a bigger problem that economic self interest leads to longer term misery..

#6 Reich

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 03:32 PM

Overpriced
For a specialist shop it often didn’t have much in
Some of the staff are really rude

Surprised it lasted so long.

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#7 simon from oxford

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 04:54 PM

View Postdjp, on 31 July 2012 - 03:20 PM, said:

The problem is bigger. No one can compete with competition thats ofshore to avoid VAT, can arrange its tax  affairs to minimize exposure,  , employs few staff, doesn't have sales premises attracting rent and rates, and can buy and negotiate in bulk. The result of people following their own economic interest and buying cheaper is inevitable - fewer jobs,   less government revenue and empty shops all over the country. That of course feeds into the current economic mess - which means shows closing,   gaps with empty theatres, empty seats.,  cheaper shows coming in, more actors unemployed, less risk taking and more name casting to try and break even. Its a microcosm of a bigger problem that economic self interest leads to longer term misery..

People are prepared to pay a premium for convenience and good service - a good number of specialist retailers are living proof of that.  But you do have to offer both convenience and good service to justify the additional cost - and whilst Dress Circle did used to have these sorted, my experience is that in more recent years, that side of things started to slip.

Amazon do use their mulitnational operation to keep their costs low - and this has reduced the average price on a good many items.  It is hard for the independent retailer to cope on this uneven playing field - but not impossible.

A specialist retailer who can combine reasonable price, good range, good availability and exceptional customer service will always stand a good chance of making a viable business.  Let one of these slip - and your chances of surviving will diminish.

Yes, we are in difficult economic times - but I am seeing niche shops thriving where they get the balance right.  DC didn't - and are paying the price.

#8 lesterf

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:16 PM

I am very sad that Dress Circle has gone the way of very many independent and specialist shops.It is like the demise of your local butcher or greengrocer as we desert them for the supermarkets.Price is important and if that us your only factor then thats why these shops go.
I went to many instore signings at Dress Circle and got to meet stars I had met before but many I had never heard of too.I have ordered from the website on numerous occasions and delivery had been extremely prompt  and well packed.
You are always going to be more costly with any premises than being online - even more when you are an independent in Covent Garden of all places.
I always found the staff in the shop very knowledgable and helpful and not on ONE occasion did I ever find them abrupt or rude as other people on here are saying.
Sadly Amazon Play or Ebay don't offer you any experience or the ability to meet the people on the cd's you are buying.

#9 theatremole

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:56 AM

Cost is the most important factor when buying things for me, particularly if it's something like a CD or a book - the quality of the goods will be the same and I can save my pennies. I asked once if they would consider offering the same Equity discount to BECTU members, but nothing ever came of that. They used to be the only place you could get a variety of cast recordings but in the very competitive market they couldn't keep up. It's sad and unfortunate but you can't really blame 'big business', people don't want to pay over the odds for luxury items.

#10 Matthew Winn

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:26 AM

I think it's inevitable that central-London specialist shops will be forced out. It used to be that it was worth the seller paying the extra to have an expensive property in the centre of town because that was the best way for people to find them. But these days a potential purchaser can find a store and check stock without even leaving the house so there's no real benefit to having a formerly-prime location any more. It makes far more sense to move out of town to somewhere a tenth the price.
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