I was dragged into the middle of Cardiff’s shopping centre last night for the first time in many months. Like many men of my age, I hate shopping, especially the way that some people do it. For me it’s all about knowing what you want and going out to buy it at around 9.30 on a Tuesday morning when there are no crowds.
And that’s how it was last night – NO CROWDS. In fact it was almost no shoppers. As we wandered around the new developments in The Hayes and the Cafe Quarter the thing that was obviously missing was Shoppers. I spoke to one tailor who has sold me clothes in the past. He reported that this is the worst year he has ever had and that on some days he does not get 4 customers into his shop.
But 50 yards away, millions of pounds have been spent on building more shops, and the fit-outs continue on many “labels” that already exist in department stores in Cardiff. How will these new shops survive?
The other thing that worried me was the number of new Jewellers in town, including probably the most expensive high street label: Cartier. Why are there at least 5 new jewellers shops opening in Cardiff now?
To have so many new shops, so few shoppers and a glut of new jewellers selling frippery make me worry about the security of business in Cardiff. Additionally, as the centre shifts towards the Hayes and the shopping magnet that is John Lewis, what will happen to the other end of Queen Street and the Capitol Centre in particular. Surely that too is facing even more challenging times.