LATELY — 8 June 2008

London's hierarchy of high street stores

Something that’s been interesting me recently: London’s surprisingly strict hierarchy of high street stores (chains/franchises). There’s shops that are found in rich areas, and shops that are found in poor areas, and never the twain shall meet—you can get a pretty feel for how rich an area is from its shops, as well as what other stores might open up soon. Similar “rules” probably apply to other big cities, but I think London is particularly consistent—you don’t often find a shop in the “wrong” area.

Pearlie and I made up this list (most affleunt to least affluent):

Space NK
Muji
Paul’s
Body Shop
Wagamamas
Pizza Express
Eat
itsu
Pret
Starbucks
Office
Costa
Caffe Nero
Coffee Republic
Blacks
Fat Face
Odd Bins
Sainsburys Local
Tesco Express
Network Mobile Phone Shop (e.g. O2 shop)
Threshers
Rymans
Carphone Warehouse
Snappy Snaps
Holland & Barrett
Foot Locker
JD Sports
Boots
Blockbuster
Londis
Somerfield
Superdrug
Domino’s
McDonald’s
Burger King
Subway
KFC

The rules for what gets included are a little loose, but basically any chain with at least 10 stores in London were included. We didn’t count bigger stores (like H&M, supermarkets) because they’re often destinations in their own right. In some cases, there is a small amount of movement upward. (The fast food chains, for example, are sometimes found about Starbucks level.) Betting shops (William Hill, Ladbrokes) are pretty much the only shops we could think of that can be found pretty much anywhere.