This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 16/11/2017.
7 high street names that could be the mystery department store in Croydon’s Westfield shopping centre
The centre needs another brand to be one of its anchor stores so we have a few suggestions.
Now the Westfield/Hammerson £1.4bn redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre has been given the go ahead we can all start getting excited about what shops might go in there.
We are told they will include two anchor department stores – you know the kind of thing – the huge stores you always find in a mall of this kind.
We know one of them is likely to be a new building for the existing Marks and Spencer in North End, but it looks like the second won’t be John Lewis after all since company has said it won’t be opening any more stores.
So what could the remaining store – mysteriously referred to in planning documents as ‘Department Store B’ – be?
We have come up with seven suggestions of big-name shops we think could fill that space.
The trouble with Primark is you think you are going to go in there and spend only a few quid on a t-shirt and grab a pair of £10 skinny jeans but, having got carried away by the bargains and knowing if you don’t buy now it will be gone, you reach the till to find you have spent £50 on a mountain of stuff.
But you can’t have too much in the way of fast fashion we reckon, so we wouldn’t be adverse to another Primark opening in Croydon. Even celebs shop in Primark and people clamour to grab a bargain replica of the latest fashion must-have.
We know at the weekend it can get pretty manic in there as everyone rummages through the rails and messes up the carefully folded staple jumpers and t-shirts. And you always have more in your basket then you’re allowed in the changing room which you have been patiently queuing for. But all the more reason to open another store. Admit it – you have at least one Primark item in your cupboard.
There is already a Next Home in the Trojan Way Retail Park, a Next in Valley Retail Park and a Next in Centrale but we reckon a big Next department store could be an option.
You never actually know where to start when you pop in to browse a huge Next Home which combines clothes, homeware and furniture.
Should you redecorate the home and do you need a new dining table in time for Christmas? And just look at that cute kids’ bedroom.
Perhaps for now you should just settle for that gorgeous vase or that piece of wall art which just looks nice. Or maybe a cushion for the bed. Even though he thinks cushions on the bed are pointless.
And that’s before you have even started on the clothes – a big Next store is a bit like waking into a Next Directory catalogue. Just leave bored members of the family in the coffee shop for now.
Currys PC World
Because everyone needs a new washing machine at some point and you just know your freezer will give up the ghost when you least need it too. And everyone wants the latest gadget.
Yes, this is the store which will kit out your kitchen on one hand and keep the whole family entertained with as many screens as they could possibly need, on the other. From tablets, laptops and the biggest TV you can possibly fit on the wall in your little living room to toasters, kettles and a new tumble dryer, it’s all here.
You can’t have too many Currys PC World’s in one town either – he can dream up a Christmas list of computing gadgets while you head off to Primark or Next.
If Primark hasn’t got what you were after than maybe Matalan does. There’s already a store in Purley Way and we reckon it needs one in town too so we can take better advantage of its cheap prices.
Looking for a quick fix for the office Christmas party so you aren’t wearing the same thing as you were last year? Don’t fancy spending a fortune on kids’ clothes which are going to get ruined in the muddy park or at nursery or end up with Christmas dinner gravy down the front at grandmas?
Fancy feathering the nest with some (more) cushions, a new lampshade or couple of mugs and it won’t matter if you want to change the colour scheme again in a few months? This is the place for you.
Oh, we love a browse through the rails at TK Maxx. With its big variety of labels and styles you will probably find something a little different to the rest of the high street choice in here.
There’s one in Waddon and one in Purley Way but we could do with one in the town centre so we can all pretend we have splashed out a fortune on Versace jeans but have actually have spent less than half the original price.
Everyone loves a bargain and TK Maxx does bargains.
What is it about Boots that means you pop in for a tube of toothpaste and three-for-two on multivitamins and end up coming out with gold sparkly nail polish, a new lipstick, a change of shampoo, one of those little bottles of hand-sanitisers on display near the till, a lunchtime meal deal, a Sanctuary Spa gift pack for your friend’s Christmas present and a pack of electric toothbrush heads, just because they were on special offer?
You probably cooed over the cute children’s clothes, made a mental note to get that gorgeous picture of the kids enlarged so you could put it in one of those lovely frames, tried on the sunglasses, and sprayed half the perfumes on your arms.
You cursed yourself for leaving the prescription at home and realised it was probably time for an eye test. When Whitgift goes we will definitely need Boots to stay in the new Westfield.
Now this may be a bit of nostalgic hope more than anything, but what would be better than bringing back Croydon’s iconic department store?
It opened in 1862 with an introductory offer of silk dresses at £5 each. In the 1960s it expanded into the newly built Whitgift centre and by 1976 it became the third largest department store in the UK behind Harrods and Selfridges before it closed in 2012.
The return of Allders would surely make the behemoth Westfield shopping mall feel like home.
Wouldn’t it be great if Croydon could have its own independent department store once again? Oh, and while we’re at it let’s bring back Woolworths. And BHS.