High Street Blues
On a street in the run up to Christmas, a deli, a bookshop and a gift shop must meet their targets to survive into the new year.
Grace Dent presents the story of a Hastings high street in the run-up to Christmas, and three shops fighting for survival.
For many years, businesses on Queens Road came and went. Many windows were boarded up, shop faces were rundown. So a few years ago it was seen as a sign of successful regeneration when new independent businesses began to move in and shop fronts were repainted. It became known as a destination for people wanting independent shops, run by people with a passion for what they're selling. But in the last year, the retail environment has become subdued. It has been an uncertain and difficult twelve months, and the final weeks of the year are looking no easier.
This is the story of three shops on one street, in the run down to a vital shopping period which they need to go well to survive into 2019.
Vicky opened White Rhino in 2014, and used to specialise in furniture from independent designers. But demand dropped and now she must earn a living from smaller, less lucrative products like loose leaf tea and trinkets.
Lee opened Printed Matter bookshop in 2017. Hastings was set to be a university town but as soon as he opened the shop, that fell through. He hopes to get 1% of the town's population as regular customers, but he's got tough competition.
Jez opened Queen's Deli in 2017. He's taken a big risk in opening on this street, and has everything on the line for it.
By the time their shop doors shut on Christmas Eve, Jez, Vicky and Lee need to know there is enough money in the till to see them into the new year. And it's looking very uncertain.
Presenter: Grace Dent
Producer: Georgia Catt