As a teenager I worked in a large department store in central London. I had possessed no desire to build a career in retail but needed to earn some cash before setting off for university. I was surprised to find that it was an exciting and vibrant environment and I actually revelled in the work. Now, years later, I have my own shop and I am staggered at how much things in the industry have changed.
Thatcher and the 1980’s
Back in the 1980’s the Thatcher era was seeing a huge boom in consumerism and raised aspirations amongst young people. Shops were flourishing as the first generation with sizable disposable incomes flocked to the stores to invest in the latest fashions and the first wave of must have electronics. People couldn’t get enough of shopping but if they wanted to do it they actually had to go to a store. I worked in the stationery department selling cards and wrapping paper and I couldn’t believe how much money was flowing through my till. Thirty Years on the landscape is very different as many sales are now made online and the recent global recession has only added to the woes of high street retailers.
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