LAURA CARTLEDGE: It’s sad to see another shop close, but stores need to do more

So HMV is facing the music, if you pardon the pun.

And Comet and Jessops have both reduced to sad neon signs.

It’s been quite a fortnight for the big names on the high street.

Their empty windows now add to the many others which stare at you blankly – like they can’t believe it has happened either.

The thing is, I don’t think the recession is completely to blame.

Of course it has played its part, and been given a starring role in the media.

However, like the final straw to the camel’s back, what went before it also has to be taken into account.

Instead of being a sign of our hard economic times, perhaps it is showing the companies which aren’t keeping up with the times.

Take Jessops.

I went in there once, looking to buy a photo frame.

Not an outlandish request you might think. But I was told they didn’t sell them.

I could print my images in there – but then I would have to go elsewhere for a frame.

What a slap on the forehead to common sense that was.

I am one of the few people I know who still owns and uses a camera.

My mobile takes better pictures than the family Nikon, but for me there is something about doing things ‘the old-fashioned way’.

I’ve never downloaded a song or streamed a movie either.

But, having said that, I do have a confession which makes me partly to blame for the shop closures.

My name is Laura, and I shop online.

Don’t get me wrong – I think proper shopping has many benefits.

But online is easy.

Search, click, done.

There are few things you can find on the high street that you can’t find online.

And that is the key thing. Shops that will do well are those which offer more.

So I guess the answer is to seize the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.