Times Are Hard For My Namesake!

Posted on: 14/07/2011

One of my fav shops way back in the 1970s was Jane Norman.
By then I had moved on from Carnaby Street (Swinging Sixties and all that Rock!) to Oxford Street, where JN had a lovely shop.
I remember the shop for two reasons (apart from the fact it shared my name!).
Firstly, the clothes were wonderful - just what I needed to look my best at every occasion (especially since by then I was never knowingly underdressed!) Secondly, because the Oxford Street site was the most expensive retail premises in the UK in terms of rent per square foot!
Jane Norman took on the site when rents in Oxford Street were sky-high, at the height of a retail boom. Of course, retail booms can't last for ever and a few years later, rents on new leases in the same street had fallen to half the dizzy heights paid by JN - but they were on a 25 year lease with upward only reviews, so they had to keep paying the huge rent they had signed up for.
Everybody thought Jane Norman would go bust (no pun intended, although their dresses certainly showed off my endowment!) but they survived. Not just for a few years either. Through the numerous up and downs of the UK economy (and there have been many) since the 70's, Jane Norman has sailed on regardless, seeming steady as a rock.
However, the rock has turned into a reef - and the 2011 crash has finally sunk the Good Ship Jane. Recently, the company went into administration - a nice word for preparing to sink without trace -and all the shops, included my beloved Oxford Street branch, may well close for good.
I am sad for Jane Norman and the staff who worked there. I am sad also for myself because dressing will never be so easy again.
But I am especially sad - and frightened - for the UK economy. If the current economic "slump" is so bad that even Jane Norman cannot survive, what business is safe?
A very sobering thought.
But not for me - I am off for some Mothers Ruin and Slim Line to console myself!

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