Going shopping. It’s something we all have to do and/or enjoy doing from an early age.
So it was with a palpable sense of strolling down memory lane that I embarked on this Hit or Miss report in Bromley, Kent (or southeast London depending on who you ask), the nearest large town centre to my childhood home.
Bromley’s shopping comprises two main areas, the original and now pedestrianised high street and The Glades, a two-level shopping centre that runs parallel to and is bolted on the high street and has its 21st birthday on the 22nd of this month. Depressingly I remember when it wasn’t there and you had to stick to the pavements on the high street, but now the town is set up for some serious shopping.
So it’s odd that notable names such as Uniqlo, Austin Reed, Benetton and a huge Habitat (prior to the company’s big cull of stores in the administration deal of 2011) have all moved out in recent years and a centre of this size in an affluent area doesn’t house an All Saints, Reiss or Ted Baker. This was something that struck me as I walked into town from the north and passed several empty shop units and feared for what I would find at the end of my stroll.
But I needn’t have worried as a relatively bustling centre awaited me, where shoppers shuffled around looking at the new autumn wares. And what a difference a season makes. Having languished in the bottom part of mid-table last time I visited a store for the menswear Hit or Miss, Next has seriously upped its game, while Zara and River Island have let top spots slip and Primark has joined the party strongly. Here are the winners and losers in this cosy corner of southeast London. Or indeed Kent.
The stores were visited on September 27 and 28. Marks for each category are out of 10