There’s been work going on in the old Peacock’s shop in the West Ealing shopping centre for a while but until yesterday I hadn’t been able to find out what is going in there. Now, thanks to a WEN colleague, I’ve found out it’s Brighthouse. To quote their website ‘BrightHouse is the nation’s leading rent-to-own retailer. Providing top brand household goods on low weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments and quick & simple credit.’
It’s yet another interesting reflection on the state of the local economy and how some large national retailers view West Ealing. Brighthouse clearly sees a local market for rent-to-own rather than outright purchase when money is so tight. It’s good that the shop has been taken as it has left an ugly gap in the high street. What worries me is that the shopping centre is becoming unbalanced with an ever-increasing predominance of budget shopping, money lending shops and betting shops. All are fine but we need to find a way to make our hight street more varied to attract in as wide a range of residents as possible. Any form of ‘monoculture’ is risky and a budget shopping only high street is not good for the long-term health of West Ealing’s shopping centre.
As I’ve said before, WEN would like to work with the Council and landlords to find a way to use empty shops as business incubators or start-ups for small local businesses who want to try to make a go of it but cannot afford the high rents charged by landlords. This would bring back a better balance and a greater variety of shops.