Is the High street dead?

Judging by my local town’s Christmas market today, definitely not. But I wonder how many people actually went into the shops, in addition to the stalls and spent some money. Yesterday I was walking down Oxford street and noted that there were more people (like us) walking along the street and admiring the christmas lights and drinking in the atmosphere than going into the shops. In fact, it would have been a welcome break from the crowds to have gone into a shop they were so empty.

When we did venture into a shop, for example, the well-known London toy store, Hamleys, seemed to have rather over-inflated prices. You would be lucky to get any toy for around £10 – making smaller presents and stocking fillers harder to locate. I found a rather fun bath toy for £8 – for the same amount I could get a whole playset for the bath on ebay or Amazon.

On the contrary, I visited a good quality second-hand children’s clothing and toy shop and was overwhelmed by the choice for toys under £10 that were clean, fully functioning and represented much better value for money. Even better, the toys weren’t in all the unnecessary packaging that you get when you buy new. It is so irritating to have to undo endless wires and screws just to extract the toy from the box. Why pay more for all the hassle of packaging when you can get nearly new for a fraction of the price? As a result, this shop was heaving.

I wonder how many more companies will go under following poor christmas sales and whether, long term, it will sound the death knell for retailers on the high street?

I am blogging every day for Unicef. Yesterday was my 100th blog – yippee! I haven’t quite raised £100 yet (more like £25) so if you are able to donate, please visit my Unicef site.

Thanks for reading.

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