When Woolworths suddenly disappeared from Britain’s high streets in 2008 after 100 years of steady trading, it was as if a dear old maiden aunt had popped her clogs. We hadn’t been to see her for ages, but it was sad to hear the old girl was gone. Woollies left rather a big hole in many town centres, physically and emotionally. Though Woolworths began life in the USA as the original “five and dime” store, it had become something essentially British on this side of the Atlantic, and its abrupt disappearance was the first time it dawned on people that the old world was fading. More than a decade ago very few people foresaw the stratospheric rise of internet shopping – certainly not the UK’s stolid local authorities, who continued to charge hefty business rates on bricks-and-mortar businesses, while levying cash from motorists for the pleasure of parking in town centres.  These are torrid times for the conventional giants of the retail world, many of whom have either disappeared or been forced to close some stores and lose staff. In the last ten years names like Toys R Us, BHS, Staples, Topshop, Blockbuster, Maplin, Tie Rack, Poundworld, Barratts, Mothercare, Jessops, Clintons, Phones4U and many more have vanished. Others, including Marks & Spencer and John Lewis are engaged in a desperate rear-guard action. But it’s not all bad news. Some businesses are managing to survive, even thrive. These are not the high street stalwarts of old, but rather new brands of business which are combining a physical presence with online operations and a specific focus on core customers in what the marketing industry is calling the “total retail model”. Companies like the Cornish womenswear brand, Seasalt which bucked an unhappy trend by experiencing a record Christmas in 2019 with in-store sales up by 30 percent and online sales by nearly 40 percent. Another fashion retailer, Joules, which operates 120 stores across the UK, but crucially mixes its business with internet, email and Facebook to connect with customers is also prospering in the new business world.