We don’t often put shops becoming different shops on our front page.
After news reached me that a deal with Apple was imminent at the historic former Midland Bank branch at 128 Worcester Lane, it pre-empted a bit of a debate.
“But it is still just a shop” said someone (me, to be precise). “This is more than just a shop” our head of news Ben Hurst pushed.
Annoyingly, he was right (he was overdue though). Now, I think it is potentially seismic.
In the six years I have been writing about the city’s traditional retail heart - Corporation Street, New Street, Bull Street and so on - I am not sure I’ve ever written anything upbeat.
As it stands, it is a sea of emptiness adjoining the business district with Bullring .
The idea of a major retailer, let alone the world’s biggest company, trading Bullring for that part of town would have seemed ridiculous a year ago.
I should say, Apple haven’t said they are leaving the Bullring, or said anything really, but the chatter in the city is that is on the cards.
You’d like to think they could keep both going.
The scale of this change is best exhibited by David Johnson, owner of jeweller Rex Johnson and Sons , who has gone from looking at shutting up shop to expansion in no time.
With Grand Central, John Lewis and the forthcoming tram extension, that part of the city is vital to attract in more visitors and offer a better welcome to those passing through.
And Apple isn’t working in isolation, Watches of Switzerland has invested in its nearby store and agents tell me demand is firmly back for those forgotten streets.
What a great Christmas present for retailers in that part of the city who have been more loyal to the traditional shopping hub than realistically they should have been.
It also makes sense of the city. The Bullring is a great draw, but we need more. Grand Central offers that, the redeveloped Mailbox adds to it, but it would be twinged with disappointment if the journey in between was a tour of empty buildings and stories of what once was.
Things are looking bright for our shopping streets. From what I hear, Apple knows a bit about what customers want in the future.