Farewell to the ABC shops: How long since you spent time in them?

An announcement broke across my local ABC radio this morning, apparently even before the staff of the ABC stores were told: ABC shops will be phased out, seeing the closure of 50 stores around the country over coming months. It is a sad time for the staff of the business and a reality check for all of us on just how significantly the retail marketplace is changing. The purchase of DVDs and program oriented books from retail stores, or in general, is declining and the flagship retailer that they used to be has changed forever.

People are buying more DVDs and books online, and keenly consuming their media through real time interfaces, like ABC iView. The consumer’s needs are changing.

The national broadcaster will be moving to an online retail model supported by concessions to major retailers which allow for greater flexibility and lower overheads.

Apparently, about 300 staff employed by the ABC’s commercial division through ABC Retail were briefed on the decision in a national video hook-up last night. It is understood many of the store employees would not have known at the time the news was broken. ABC Online reports that consultation with ABC Shop staff would take place in the coming months and there would be some redundancies from its workforce which comprises a mix of full-time, part-time, casual and contract staff.

We’ve seen digital disruption significantly affect the book and DVD markets, with many book and video stores ceasing to exist. As a public broadcaster, the ABC’s obligation to our people is a wonderful one, and one we would not want to see go to the wall in this way. Interestingly, an ABC spokesman said any forecast losses through the ABC Shop network would not be covered by taxpayer funds. Do you find it enlightening to see them changing their strategy before it is too late?

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Do you remember the ABC Shops of the old days? What are your earliest memories?


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