Retail is NOT dead!

Retail is on its knees, restaurants are closing faster than you can say avo on toast and we’re all going to Hell in a handcart because of Brexit/Trump etc – or so the press would have us believe.

And if you look around any major city, it seems like it might be true, as well known high street shops and big name restaurants close their doors on an almost daily basis. And if you have visited any large chain recently it is hardly surprising. Vast, soulless spaces with uninspiring visual merchandise and predictable stock, as well as average, over priced food with the same interiors from Edinburgh to Exeter – are enough to make self respecting consumer either not bother, or seek out more interesting alternatives.

Greedy landlords and small business rates have made it almost impossible for entrepreneurs to open new business’s in cities like London and New York and the knock on effects are interesting, as young people looking for new opportunities and Boomers looking for a lifestyle change, are looking beyond the obvious, to open innovative shops and restaurants in alternative locations.

Over the past few months I’ve been hearing lots about Whitby and Bridlington in Yorkshire and interesting new businesses in Margate and the Kent coast are popping up on an almost daily basis.

Privet House, Connecticut

Visiting Connecticut this week, proved that similar things have been happening in the US for some time. New Preston in Connecticut was established as a railroad stop in the nineteenth century and has evolved into a lifestyle shopping destination over the last few years, catering for the area’s well-heeled locals and visitors from the surrounding areas.

Privet House, Connecticut

The tiny village got me more excited about shopping than I had for a long time, with its selection of carefully curated lifestyle stores. My favourites being Privet House (think Anthropologie X 1000), Plain Goods  (better quality COS with homeware and loads more style) and Pergola (Japanese influenced natural curiosities, weathered antiques, botanical books & prints, home fragrance and objects).

Pergola, New Preston

Back in the UK, I’m excited to visit the newly opened Rose Hotel in Deal (another place everyone is talking about) which looks like the perfect place for a weekend by the coast.

The Rose Hotel, Deal


  • Sue Evans says:

    They look amazing Jane — reminds me of the excitement we all felt when we saw those fabulous lifestyle stores that opened up in SoHo back in the 80s.

  • Sarah says:

    Very exciting. Our high st is filled with bland, boring chains, the small independents closing weekly due to rent hikes. This looks like a solution…

  • Jan says:

    I agree. I think it’s all hype from media and the banks who’d prefer us all to do everything online. Plus, as you say, greedy landlords. I think it’s also true that some shops often don’t offer the level of service that they ought to. Use it or lose it I’m afraid for local shops and I’m trying to do my bit by shopping locally as much as I can. The Rose Hotel looks fab.

  • Grig Woods says:

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