The top 5 retailers we miss the most

As online retail continues to grow, more high street retailers are disappearing. We put together a list of some of the most missed retailers that you can no longer find on your local high street - do you agree with our top 5 and would you like to see them return?

As online retail continues to grow more high street retailers are disappearing, we put together a list of some of the most missed retailers that you can no longer find on your local high street - do you agree with our top 5 and would you like to see them return?
Which shut-down high street shops do you remember most fondly?


It will come as no surprise that Woolworths tops the list for being one of the most missed retailers in the UK of all time.

Well known for selling almost anything as well as being the UK’s largest buyer of pick ‘n’ mix sweets, Woolworths was once a firm high street staple.

Back in 2018, Which? voted the retailer as the most missed shop from the 1990s.

When the chain officially dissolved in October 2015, it left both shoppers and the market shocked.

One member cited “you could find anything there”, while another added that “it sold everything at a reasonable price”.

Do you think Woolworths should make a comeback in 2021?


Before the days of Netflix, Blockbuster was the UK’s most popular video rental shop.

At its height of it success in November 2004, the entertainment retailer employed 84,300 people worldwide.

However, as online competition grew and streaming services such as Netflix gained popularity, the retailer went into administration in September 2010 and again in 2013, closing its remaining stores that year.

Just head to social media to see how much the video rental service is missed and how the chain is now immortalised in memes.

Would you still use Blockbusters if it were still open today?


The electrical retail chain was formed in 1993, but collapsed in 2012 when its owner OpCapita failed to turn the business around after purchasing it from Kesa.

The company’s remaining stores were all closed by December 2012.

Most memories of Comet include traipsing down the aisles of electricals with parents.

Comet’s slogan of “we live electricals” hasn’t been forgotten just yet and the retailer is still the subject of various jokes on Twitter, especially when there is any comet activity up in space.


As video rental stores began to decline in popularity, so did many book stores with the rapid rise of Amazon and the invention of the Kindle.

The bookshop chain Borders collapsed in the UK in June 2009.

Borders was known for its large store formats, extra helpful staff, wide range of books and its in-store cafes perfect for reading a good book.

Twitter is still filled with users pining for its return to this day.


While BHS is now plagued with controversies around its huge debts, pension deficit and mass layoffs, it was once a high street favourite thanks to its wide offerings and affordable price-points.

The retailer was on the high street for 88 years, originally opening in Brixton, South London back in 1928.

BHS was the one-stop shop for everything, from clothes to homewear, but as cheaper rivals such as Primark began to expand the retailer began to struggle.

By August 2016, all 164 stores were shuttered after administrators failed to find a buyer.

What are your fondest memories of BHS?

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  1. Surely nobody misses Woolworths? They were rubbish that’s why they closed down.
    Blockbuster holds nostalgic memories for a lot of us but they had ceased to have a reason to exist due to technology.

    • The stores weren’t amazing but you knew you would find whatever you needed cheaply. Although Wilko has done a good job filling that void in certain categories, there is nothing equivalent on the high street today. That’s why we all need Amazon Prime.

  2. Having worked at Borders head office (which went under in December 09, not June) for 9 months and worked closely with Woolworths, they were both awfully run business that stood no chance of surviving. Happily no businesses I’ve worked with since have gone bust, so I don’t think I was the issue…

  3. I liked Woolworths, it was the only place that had both the ground floor & 1st floor in the shopping centre. Huge space although looking back I think the 1st floor was under utilised, expect Christmas time. That was where they sold Christmas trees & decorations.

  4. 1993? Comet was formed in 1933 by George Hollingbery as a business charging batteries for customers on a weekly basis.

  5. I always thoght the main problem with Borders was how people could simply read the books without actually paying for them.It was a fantastic book SHOP with an amazing range.They should perhaps not tried to move into the games market.

  6. I miss Blockbusters a lot; it made hiring a film more special than seeing what’s on netflix or dvd. I would hire video’s to try something new but on Netflix there’s too much choice with less appeal. New technology doesn’t necessarily mean better or more advanced, it’s simply different but internet killed the Video star unfortunately : (

    Borders was nice but the rest to me seemed like they had had their day. Alot had fond memories of Woolies pick and mix.

  7. Dentists will probably have noticed a drop in income after woolworths closed. Their pic n mix aisles sold tons of sugary sweets at great cost to British children’s teeth . Blockbusters were no great loss as they had been undermined by improvements in technology.
    Comet was dull but useful. BHS a cheap array of tacky clothes and household goods but a half decent lighting offer. Went rapidly downhill under Green and his money grabbing antics,
    Borders was good but I am happy with Waterstones.


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