Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A quieter Hammersmith

I recently went to Hammersmith to stock up on a few things, and was shocked to see how quiet it was, especially as the Christmas shopping rush is supposed to be upon us.

Now, I know it's not the most exciting or upmarket shopping centre in West London, but it does have a decent branch of M&S, a large branch of W H Smiths, several discount sports retailers and quite a few independent shops.

A few retailers I spoke to said it was largely down to the effect of the Westfield shopping centre, up the road in Shepherd's Bush. Although the range of shops there is different, there's a lot of variety, and there is still a novelty effect as the centre is so new. Coupled with the fact that Oxford Street has seen a lot of heavy discounting as well, the overall effect for smaller centres such as Hammersmith was painful, exacerbating the effects of the credit crunch and economic downturn more generally. The King's Mall had at least one large empty shop unit; I hope this is not a portent of things to come.

Of course, Westfield is in the same borough as Hammersmith, and it must have been obvious that, being so close, the new development would compete pretty directly with Hammersmith town centre. So I hope the folks at Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council did their sums before agreeing to the Westfield proposal...

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