Putney High Street - Half Full or Half Empty?

Hugh Thompson reflects on the seismic changes seen recently

Vacant units remain on Putney High Street
Vacant units remain on Putney High Street.


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As we crawl back to normal, is Putney High Street, with its perennial problems, with its empty shops, half full or half empty? Two more pubs have gone as have the big beasts Santander, WH Smiths, Gap, Subway, M&S, Top Shop and Next. The normal churn of smaller independents especially in fast food has continued.


Big hitters, Pets at Home, Wilco, Lidl, Flying Tiger have appeared. As interesting, two other pet shops have arrived in adjoining roads. Dogs wearing coats are now the norm. Specialist bread shops have appeared. All the shopping streets now have their share of nail bars, barbers, hairdressers and dentists.

Fashions come and go, in the Lower Richmond Road an unpopular Vape shop has been replaced by a popular Judo gym.

Sometimes it’s just rearranging the retail chairs. Putney Bikes rose to at one point having three outlets. It crashed but three independents now cater for the town’s growing army of cyclists. Capitalism is a vital and hungry beast.

As online sales increase so retail space caters for services which cannot be bought on line (nails, hair, teeth). Typically convenience stores have been replaced by kitchen and bathroom show rooms in the Lower Richmond Road. As wealth increases so we indulge our pets and our bread bins with more and more expensive and specialist products.

The fact that five supermarket chains are represented shows that online sales have not seen the end of traditional shopping. The fact that the number of estate agents has grown is a testament to the continued prosperity of the town.

Up market chains are choosing to move to Putney
Up market chains are choosing to move to Putney

So as and if landlords adjust their rents to the new reality, Putney High Street is more than half full and getting busier every week.

Hugh Thompson

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January 25, 2022

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