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.