Holy underwear! I see Marks and Spencer have announced a 5.3% drop in sales, and are predicting stormy times ahead for the UK economy. Meanwhile separate data suggests that high petrol prices have led to a drop in trips to out-of-town shopping centres. According to figures from Experian's footfall index, visitor numbers fell by 5.8% in June from the same month a year ago. Even millionnaires like me are feeling the pinch. Recently I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and cancel my weekly Fortnums delivery.
All this must surely place a questionmark over the future of Brownwater. Even more units are going up, but you have to ask whether Britain's major retailers have their investing trousers on at the moment. I think the answer is probably no. And how long before we see abandoned units over there? There's nothing sadder than the sight of a derelict shopping centre. You only have to pop into Arlington Arcade to witness that!
On the other hand less out of town shopping could be good news for Thanet's beleagured local high streets. Margate was recently given a teeny-tiny boost when our beloved council agreed to a few hours free parking on Saturdays for an experimental three month period. As ever with our Cecil Square-centric councillors, no such concession was announced for Ramsgate. But then, really, what did you expect?
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