'Clones' Are Overrunning the UK

The spread of commercial chains and mega-stores is changing the character of British towns.
November 2, 2004, 5am PST | Zvi Leve
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Many of the main shopping thoroughfares of British towns, the so-called "high streets," now "traffic in sameness." Chain stores offer the consumer a reassuring sense of familiarity while small locally owned independent stores are being squeezed out. "In the case of Britain, and especially England, there is a huge sense of identity investment in the image of towns and cities, and the notion that this sort of bland, gradual effacement of character is taking place has taxed people at a deep level," said Andrew Simms, policy director for the New Economic Foundation, an independent economic research organization that published a report in August called "Clone Town Britain". Recently this type of development is beginning to encounter resistance, as people question whether Britain should "emulate America or follow Continental Europe, which is trying hard to preserve its uniqueness."

Thanks to Zvi Leve

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Published on Monday, November 1, 2004 in The New York Times
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