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A Quarter of High Street Shops Are Now Exclusively Ladies Fashion

Published on: 22 Apr, 2012
Updated on: 22 Apr, 2012

The two latest additions to Guildford High Street represent different ends of a market which already dominates – ladies fashion. With 18 of the 82 High Street shop premises already in this sector the percentage of ladies fashion stores now moves to almost 25%, and well over that if you include shops that contain ladies fashion as part of their range.

62 High Street Currently being Refurbished and Fitted for'Mint Velvet.

Mint Velvet is soon to move into 62 High Street, the former premises of Bateman’s the opticians, at the top of the High Street, by Holy Trinity Church. They are suitably perhaps, given the lofty position, at the upper end of the ladies fashion market. Its website states: “Mint Velvet offers luxury women’s clothing combining modern silhouettes with luxurious fabrications to create a relaxed and sensual style of women’s fashion. Our journey began in 2009, when we decided to set up our own womenswear brand.”

Workmen refurbishing the shop said on Friday (April 20) that it was expected to open in a couple of weeks. The business has been retailing through a concession within the House of Fraser department store.

Glance - this discount women's fashion store was said to have a 12-month lease.

Further down the High Street, on the corner of Market Street, in premises that were once The Red Lion coaching inn (a hostelry where Samuel Pepys is known to have stayed, the premises were in more recent times, Timothy Whites, River Island and a temporary Christmas discount store), is now Glance, another women’s clothes offering.  Despite having an appearance of a discount store, window advertisements state everything is less than £11, a shop worker said that it has a 12-month lease on the premises.

Meanwhile, the Santander representation on Guildford High Street is expected to continue to shrink from a peak of five separate branches, as their leases expire. One next door to Sainsbury’s already lies empty. The high number of branches within one street was a result of Santander’s buy outs of different building societies, including Bradford & Bingley.

In North Street though, it is understood that the Santander brand is to make an entrance. This follows an EU enforced policy which requires the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch on the corner of Ward Street, among others in England, to close. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, owned by the taxpayer, has agreed to sell off its English and Welsh RBS branded branches and the Scottish branches of NatWest to Santander, following conditions set by the European Union and the British Government regarding state support. Natwest was acquired by the RBS Group in 2000. The Government has held a majority ownership (currently 70%) since 2008.

What are your views? Is it right that so many shops are dedicated to fashion? Does it make the High Street less attractive, interesting or useful, or is it simply market forces at work and nothing can or should be done. What about the longer term trends of shopping? What will be the impact on Guildford as a town? Please write in by email or use the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below to comment.

See also: ‘Shopping on the High Street’

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