Photo blog: ten shop fascias that time – and the retailers – forgot

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via and Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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15 Responses

  1. Rowan says:

    “Store 21” in Aberystwyth is displaying “old” signage (should be Store Twenty One), BUT on the right hand side it still has a B/Wise sign! It’s actually in a staff only area and can’t be seen from a distance due to facing another building right next to it, so I guess that’s why they never bothered replacing / removing it.

    • Graham Soult says:

      I love this kind of thing! I spotted something similar in Rutherglen last year: The interior there was pure Bewise/B-wise as well!

      • Rowan says:

        Wow haha! It had QS signs?! Come to think of it there is still an empty QS in Cardigan (Welsh: Aberteifi) that never became a Store 21, signs still proudly displayed!

        • Rowan says:

          Actually I think the QS in Cardigan did become a Store 21 / Twenty One, but when it closed the signage was removed and the QS signage re-exposed. Unbelieveably that Argos in Nottingham STILL looks like that in 2017, complete with the interior “COLLECTION” etc signs in a serif font! I noticed that you have never featured Aberystwyth on this blog, or at least a search returned no results. Marks and Spencer’s has just opened so the “Tesco and M&S” development is now in full use. I’m not sure what they’re doing with Aberystwyth Gas Co. building next to it though. Budgens in Ystwyth Retail Park (ex-CoOp) has closed with that unit empty, let me know if you find out what’s happening with that if you can :-) The Store “21” in Rheidol Retail Park I already mentioned is now closed with the signage removed and “shop unit to let” signs up and a planning notice for the construction of an upper floor, despite the original plan being to demolish that unit and build a new “mini shopping centre” in its place, not sure what’s happening with that…? And I’m really not sure what’s happening with Aldi supposedly coming to the town, because they have had “on and off” plans for something between 6 and 11 years; the former Kwik Save and car garage buildings on the site were finally demolished last year, but I’m not sure whether that’s got to do with Aldi or the housing development near to the nearby town football club. Finally, there’s the Yr Hen Ysgol Gymraeg (The Old Welsh School) development, which is supposed to be opening mid-2017 but work has not started yet. It is already a business centre with charities, health organisations and the D(V)SA occupying it, but they’re all going to have to find new places when the building is redeveloped and already agreed tenants Pizza Express and Lounge Cafe Bars move in, along with the rest! Let me know if you know what’s happening with any of these :-)

          • Graham Soult says:

            Thanks Rowan! Funnily enough, I was reading about the new M&S in Aberystwyth only on Friday – it looks like an impressive store, and good that it’s more or less in the town centre rather than being stuck on a retail park somewhere.

            I’ve never been to Aberystwyth – it’s a bit of a challenge to get to from the North East – but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

  2. The Blackpool branch of Wilkinson is in a (truly hideous) building that was once a FineFair, and the cladding along Talbot Road still has the interlocked Fs from that store’s branding. The whole building will be demolished in the next couple of years due to a planned extension of the tramway, I’ll try and get some shots before it’s too late!

  3. Kev says:

    Brings back some memories these signs ! Not good ones though haha

  4. geoff says:

    Up until last year our local Tesco in Sevenoaks had a sign datiing from 1978. More info in this article..

  5. jaxboy32 says:

    “Ah yes! That’s one of the Westgate department stores that Beales *didn’t* buy, isn’t it?” Sorry for the VERY late reply, but yes, you are correct that it is one of the Westgate department stores that Beales didn’t buy! ;) Before it was Westgate, it was an Uptons store. When it ceased to be Binns, strangely, it never closed down, it kept the same layout, and all that really changed was the singage on the front of the store!

  6. Andrew Archer says:

    OMGosh! Only today I was taking photos of our Sainsbury’s Swindon (Brunel) store, especially motivated as they have finally decided to start refurbishing it.
    The store opened in 1974 and has been largely untouched in all that time.
    So the refurbishment is tinged with a little sentimental sadness as the old store furniture and features are gradually being replaced.

    This includes the old beige isle signage, beige wall tiles with the original circa seventies brown ‘S’ printed on each tile, brown floor tiles, ceiling tiles and I expect the shop facia signage ‘J Sainsbury’ will eventually go too. Ahh well, that’s progress for you.

    Apart from ambient shelving, checkouts and some refrigeration units, I swear to you, the store is the same now as it was when it opened. Really bazaar especially when you think Sainsbury’s starting rejuvenating their stores away from the old coffee brown image back in the late nineties.
    Finally, I still think the best Sainsbury’s marketing slogan was “Good food costs less at Sainsbury’s”
    If you want any photos, let me know.
    Nearly 40years and still going strong can’t be bad.

    Just for fun! Just think when Sainsbury’s Brunel opened in 1974 the following food retailers were around: Liptons, Fine Fare, Bejam, Wavy Line, International, Key Markets, Gateway, Safeway, Carrefour.

  7. jaxboy32 says:

    Not sure if this counts or not, but in Scunthorpe, there is a former Binns department store which has long since been taken over by a different department store company, but the “B” from the Binns logo is still on the glass in the doors!

  8. Chris says:

    And off tangent a bit but these ads perfectly illustrate the decline of Gateway as a brand:

    From fresh…

    To rapping…

  9. Chris says:

    Love these old fascias. I think this was the standard way the signage was re-done for Somerfield as the Gateway name, which had survived until 1997, was exposed for a couple of days when my local store was converted to The Cooperative a couple of years ago.
    At the other end of town our second Gateway was taken over by Superdrug in the early nineties. During a recent refurbishment they uncovered the old signage along the top of the walls inside the store so we had a Superdrug with signage advertising ‘Souper Savers’ and similar puns for a couple of weeks.
    The original Somerfield stores were very expensive fit outs, much more like Waitrose is now. However it appears they were too expensive to roll out across the whole estate and the red/turquoise style store fit out was developed as a lower cost way of converting the remaining stores. A local curiosity was the Staines store which was trialled along with a couple of other sites in the new style but with the Gateway name above the door, ultimately it was decided customers preferred Somerfield.
    A chicken and egg question maybe but it has to be said that it’s very rare for a retailer to successfully change its name and that the most successful re-brands tend to be evolutionary. Chelsea Girl to River Island and the Sainsburys 1999 re-brand are the only two that spring immediately to mind.

  10. Danny Bent says:

    Really interesting.

    In fact, the Sainsburys at Blackheath near Birmingham, used to be really grotty inside, not refurbished for years and had the J Sainsbury logo outside (small version), it said “Sainsburys” in the large font.
    The aisles and signage were also dated.
    I know that store was supposed to have a small extension and presumably refit also, but not been there for well over a year now.
    I am not sure if it has been done now, the refit and extension?

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