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Concerns over Oxford Street being ‘overrun’ with US candy stores

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theguardian.com

Tourists visit London for its world-class museums, restaurants and shopping – and American sweets, judging by the rapid growth of US candy stores in the capital.Oxford Street is home to more than 30 of these American sweet shops, opening in stores abandoned by more traditional retailers.In one notable example, HMV’s former flagship store has been replaced by a candy shop, with many of the US sweet stores popping up during lockdown as high street stalwarts closed down.The popularity can partially be explained by UK consumers’ affection for US products, as many American brands are already established in this country’s snacking habits.Ben & Jerry’s is the second most popular ice-cream brand and 21% of Britons say Oreos are a favourite biscuit, according to market research firm GWI.The explosion in popularity of US candy stores, which offer the sweet treats UK consumers grew up watching on American television programmes, could be an extension of this trend.The bright, cartoonish style of American confectionary is also popular on social media, with some TikTok accounts collecting hundreds of thousands of followers for their clips showing off new products.“Nostalgia and frivolity are dominating the food sector right now; consumers are looking for multi-sensory experience that are playful and allow them to get lost in their favourite childhood treats or flavours,” says Savannah Scott, creative foresight analyst at The Future Laboratory.However the prime locations of the stores and the rapid growth of the sector has prompted questions about the business model.Concerns have been raised about the health impact of the sugary products and about the legality of some of the operators.Katharine Jenner, campaign director at Action on

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