How Branding Reflects Changing Times at Oxford Street

Oxford Street was once the flagship location for Britain’s high-end stores and top brands. However, in recent years, this iconic shopping destination has become increasingly abandoned by the big-name brands that earned it such esteem. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how Oxford Street’s transformation reflects the changing importance of branding in today’s retail landscape.

How Branding Reflects Changing Times at Oxford Street
Photo by Johen Redman on Unsplash

The Decline of Oxford Street and its Impact on Branding

As reported by Dailymail, once home to some of the UK’s most famous brands, Oxford Street is now filled with empty shells of ornate stonework stores. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of the British high street forever as iconic brands were plunged into administration and forced to close their doors.

According to Tom Ironside, Director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium, the number of empty storefronts remains around 10 percent higher than pre-pandemic levels. This decline has had a significant impact on branding, with big names such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Oasis, and Warehouse disappearing from city centers across the country.

How Branding Reflects Changing Times at Oxford Street
Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

A storefront is often the first point of contact between a customer and a brand, and an empty storefront can create a negative impression in the mind of the consumer. Empty storefronts not only create a sense of abandonment in a city center but also have a significant impact on the branding of the businesses that once occupied them.  It can suggest that the business has closed down, gone out of business, or is no longer relevant. This perception can be damaging to a brand, especially if the business is still operating but has moved to a different location or switched to an online-only model.

Oxford Street
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

A Glimmer of Hope for Branding?

Despite the decline of Oxford Street and its impact on branding, there are signs that shoppers are starting to return. Footfall is up 10% year-on-year last week and up 38% since the beginning of the year, according to New West End Company which represents 600 retailers and hoteliers in the area. This could indicate a renewed interest in physical retail and an opportunity for brands to once again establish a strong presence on Oxford Street.

As I see it, it is clear from Oxford Street’s transformation that branding has become increasingly critical in today’s retail environment. New opportunities are opening up for established and emerging brands alike as shoppers return to this iconic shopping destination.

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Hasin Hamza