I’ve had a couple of weeks now to get used to the fact that Habitat is on the way out. And this week, when my mother said she would be going to the Nottingham shop for a final visit, I asked if I could accompany her.
She’s shopped at Habitat for years. Decades. She told me that when they opened the York branch, she was invited to the opening party. The Nottingham store was filled with signs saying ‘everything must go’ and the like, and it was a sad sight. It was also very busy – we all love a bargain. I don’t think I’ve seen so many members of staff on duty there before either – all of whom will be losing their jobs once the stock has been sold.
In my own home, I’ve got all kinds of stuff from Habitat. Very little in the way of furniture – I’ve always aspired to own some of their furniture, but hadn’t reached that point yet. (Though I do have a pink coffee table from there, which belonged to my parents and dates back to the 1980s. The fact that I’ve just said it’s pink makes it sound a bit dodgy, but really, it’s very nice. Honest.) The kitchen is full of their designs though – plates, mugs, tea towels, aprons, glasses, trays, storage jars, chopping boards… About six years ago I saved up and bought a whole set of Habitat china – plates, bowls, side plates, pasta bowls – and I still love the design as much as I did when I bought them. (I know it was six years ago because I paid for it using money I earned working to process and count votes at the 2005 general election!)
So I will be sad to see those doors close, and wonder what will take its place? In terms of a competitor, I suppose shoppers will drift to Dwell, John Lewis and M&S, but I don’t think there’s anything out there offering the same quality of design under one roof. In London there is Heal’s and the Conran Shop, but out in the sticks shops like that are thin on the ground.
By the way, thic photo is of our little cat, Daisy, sitting on a Habitat bag – she loves paper bags, and has played in Habitat bags since she was a kitten. I’m not convinced she’s realised yet how the closure of Habitat is going to affect her.