Busy streets not only act as the commercial hub for cities but also a specific social space in which to have new experiences. Will the online retail world crush this for good?

This article titled “Why shops matter” was written by Peter Preston, for The Guardian on Sunday 27th November 2011 18.00 UTC

Oh tidings of despond and woe! Thomas Cook shuts hundreds of its travel shops. Philip Green wonders whether hundreds more from his Arcadia empire face nemesis. And it's Christmas bonanza time along the high streets of Britain, where Oxfam outlets and estate agents lie lonely amid empty sites and desolate closed doors. A nation of shopkeepers? Not if you stray far from the hedge fund heaven that is WC1. But victims of the credit calamity? That's only half of the story: the non-digital half.

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