Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KILLED OFF BY THE COFFEE CHAINS; New Figures Reveal Just How Far the Invasion of High Streets Has Spread

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KILLED OFF BY THE COFFEE CHAINS; New Figures Reveal Just How Far the Invasion of High Streets Has Spread

Article excerpt

Byline: ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

THE full scale of the high street invasion by coffee shops and estate agents can be shown today.

Figures obtained by the Evening Standard show that no borough has escaped a growth of the invaders, at the expense of traditional small shops.

In Barnet, the number of coffee bars has increased by nearly 200 per cent in five years.

And in the City, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich and Hounslow, the number of branches of cafes such as Starbucks and Costa has at least doubled.

The figures, provided for the Standard by the Office of National Statistics, also show that there are now 550 estate agents in Westminster alone and 200 each in Kensington and Barnet.

They come amid growing concern that Britain's high streets are losing their individuality as small shops are replaced by national chain stores.

More than 1,000 independent shops in the capital have closed in the past four years as shopkeepers struggle to cope with increasing rents, crippling rates and the march of retail giants.

The Standard's Save Our Small Shops campaign is calling on planners, politicians, landlords and consumers to face up to the risk that London's "villages" and high streets could lose many of their traditional shops if they fail to act.

We are urging people to sign our petition calling for a cap on the number of large chain stores allowed in some shopping areas and new rules to stop massive rent rises being imposed on locally owned, independent shops.

We also want readers to use their consumer power to help save traders by spending an extra [pounds sterling]10 a week in their local shops.

Today's statistics confirm the fears raised by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) think-tank, which coined the term "clone town Britain", in a warning that the growth of chain stores was stripping high streets of their identity. …

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