James Moore: Primark - the next new face of Regent Street?
Outlook Even in the midst of a general economic malaise, some groups will be benefiting. It shouldn't come as much surprise that among the cheerful contingent are the people behind Primark, the discount clothes retailer.
If it's not in a mall or on a high street near you, it's coming soon. There are now two of them on Oxford Street, the home of Selfridges no less, and it'd be no surprise to see another one opening up before too long. Think Regent Street is a step too far? Why? The landlords (the Crown Estate) might baulk a bit, but would anyone else?
The Kinks may have referred to that prestigious thoroughfare in "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" but if you want clothes that are loud and never square you know where to find them.
Were the hero of the song and his girlfriend to be transplanted into today's London, they'd probably become dedicated followers of Primark quite quickly.
There aren't many boutiques that'll do you a £3 bikini.
It is probably true that a lot of us would wish it otherwise. And if the economy were better, perhaps it would be, because then we'd feel more comfortable about spending a little extra to support small and independent businesses, which wouldn't dream of resorting to stunts like selling bikinis with padding in them for children as young as seven.
Unfortunately, right now, most people simply can't afford to do that. Austerity, in the form of tax rises and benefit cuts, is hitting just about everyone outside of the millionaires handed a tax cut by Mr Osborne.
So it's off to Aldi for the groceries and down to Primark for some summer clothes before logging on to Amazon for the entertainment products, even while hating yourself for contributing to its tax avoiding.
That's life in flatlining Britain.
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