Crouch End Carry Out – retail healthcheck Jan 2023

Crouch End Retail Survey January 2023

Another glimpse at the health of the Crouch End high street. Last year’s report can be found here.

Comings and goings

Hellos to –

Humble Grape, Hornsey Exchange (soon itself to turn into a pizzeria?), Pure Gym, Zambrero, Pachara, Mr Firewater, Nonno’s Pizzeria, Strada, Punk Cakes, La Torre, Modern History (with their glorious heritage shopfront), Treehouse Dental, The Gallery Antiques, Carboys, El Loco Burrito, Cubes, Axis Clinic, Dobar, Green Rooms (the Urban Flower people), Crouch End Tiger, Green Machine CBD (we think), Equals Results, Pink Zebra, SA Beauty, and RFC Chicken & Ribs.

Farewells –

Morley’s, Indish, Florian’s, Allora Hall, Soho Studio, Kiss the Sky, Matthew’s Kitchen, Cannon’s fish & chips, Doppleganger, Greek Kitchen, 12oz Bottle Shop, SEW, Sicilia in Tavola, The Clock N8, Singhar, Atomwise, and Ayla Turkish Kitchen.

Plus:  Streathers solicitors moved into the old Nat West (a good fit and nicely presented), Ready Burger turned into a dark kitchen, …and we’re soon to see a wine and produce shop in the ex-Kiss the Sky, a gastropub in the ex-Allora Hall, a relocated Les 2 Garçons, and an expanded Ginger & Mint, amongst others.

Some very longstanding Crouch End traders in the closure list which adds to the general gloom, but has the overall picture changed?

The shares of retail, convenience, leisure, services, etc. remains static although this conceals recent significant change (the number of banks has halved, for example). Clearly the conditions for eateries are difficult and the floorspace taken by food and beverage has decreased – some of the businesses above lasted only months and we suspect the sudden increase in fast food outlets may only go so far (has the rise of the dark kitchen stalled?). Conversely, the total of vacant units is actually lower than 12 months ago, down from 28 to 23 – though the real story is the churn rate, now a third higher than the long term trend. It appears the number of entrepreneurs willing to have a go has, if anything, increased but the risks remain high.

The churn rate is now more than 15% year-on-year, some 50 businesses opening and closing.

The coffee shop remains king, at least on a weekend (don’t knock it), and we’re hanging onto the cinemas… however, some large new spaces stand empty, including the ex-Soho Studio, ex-Evans Cycles on Crouch End Hill, 2 Frederick Place, and a line of newbuilds on Tottenham Lane. Any chains willing to move in? At just 20% of units, we could do with more anchor stores.

The context for all this is of course the much cited high street decline, the tightening cost of living, and the longer term trend to online shopping – which we’ve seen play out over the last few years. A high street formed of comparison shopping is now gone (only 16% of floorspace is comparison, much of it charity shops – although Muswell Hill manages to hang on to the sector). Nevertheless, Crouch End’s post-retail blend of services and food & beverage may yet prove more durable than, for example, the fading Wood Green offer. However, the competition from a revitalised Finsbury Park and Stroud Green continues to have an impact.

Meanwhile, Haringey have come up with the wheeze of painting a few murals to ‘brighten the place up’, though we suspect consequent improved footfall is unlikely. The real opportunity is investment in the public realm by way of greening, widening pavements, decluttering, improving conservation, etc. – indeed for a joined up approach that encourages flexible commercial tenure, leverages entrepreneurship, community and cultural activity, and reduces the dominance of traffic. All desperately needed. Just imagine a transformed Topsfield Parade, all trees and pavement cafés…

And lastly, every year we seem to promise the completion of Hornsey Town Hall, with its 68 bed aparthotel, venue, arts centre, workspaces, restaurants. Well, it will happen in 2023, and it’ll be interesting to see how the launch plays out.

Graphics credit CENF 2022, base mapping Crown copyright Ordnance Survey 2021, LBH 100019199

One Comment

  1. Mark Afford Author

    Further changes on the horizon. Halifax have announced the closure of the local branch, and the former Nationwide may be turning into yet another spa/beauty salon. Both changes firmly within trends noted in the article and neither development good news for the primary section of the town centre.
    Meanwhile, it’s reported that the very longstanding stalwart Bishops is ‘closed until further notice’. Sad news.


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