Gun Wharf Quay

Posted on October 1, 2010

I took a day off with Diane yesterday and went to the Gun Wharf Quay Shopping Centre, and I am sorry to report that I found it one of the most soulless places I have ever been to. It stinks of recession, there is hardly anyone there, all the shops and restaurants are empty, and the people who are there look either miserable, or not particularly pleasant, unless you are in to tracksuits and devil dogs.

Gun Wharf was built about 10 years ago as part of a redevelopment programme on the waterfront of Porstsmouth, and whilst it’s intentions were excellent, it decided that like Bicester and Swindon, that it would establish itself as one of these retail outlets that features shops like Fred Perry, Levis, Ralph Lauren, Fat Face, White Stuff etc etc shifting stuff that didn’t sell on the shelves in The High Street.

All the items in these shops are either crap design, or for a seven foot guy with a twenty eight inch waist. It really is a pointless exercise unless you like wandering aimlessly around listening to The Lighthouse Family droning away on the PA system that echoes through the empty malls. Why for instance, would anyone pay £25.00 for a hideously designed Fred Perry shirt that didn’t sell in normal shops when they can buy a nice one for £40.00?

In my opinion, these Retail Designer Villages are complete an utter one trick ponies, they rely on people visiting them in the hope that they are going to get a new pair of Levi 501 Jeans for £20.00. When it dawns on them that it is not going to happen, they spend £15.00 on a cup of coffee and a sandwich in Costa Fortune because there is nothing else do except people watch. Consequently the majority of people never return unless they have a freaky shape or a liking for bright yellow shirts, and as the years pass the visitor numbers dwindle. That doesn’t strike me as a good long term business plan.

In fairness to Gun Wharf it is very clean, and the toilet facilities are excellent. I should know, I sprinted to them on no fewer than three occasions courtesy of a temperamental Madras the previous evening.

I am afraid to say, that’s about as good as it got!

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