Last week Dixons announced that it is abandoning the High Street in favour of the internet.

For blokes, electronic retail outlets are sanctuaries, somewhere to disappear to when the missus is clothes shopping. A refuge on the High Street away from all those mirrors and difficult questions - like does my bum look big in this?

DSG, which owns Dixons as well as Currys and PC World, is to spend £7 million on a makeover of Dixons' ecommerce operation and expects to save around £3 million a year as a result.

It seems electronic goods sell better online - now who would have predicted that?

The good news is that in our regional towns at least, the high street environment might return to its former architectural glory.

This is of great interest to me, coming from a family infested with architects. My sister is one, my brother-inlaw is one, my mother married two of them - and that's a lot of corduroy for one family.

One thing they hate more than UPVC windows is the systematic destruction, from the waist down, of our town High Street facades. According to them, it is now impossible to tell one town from another, thanks to retail chains like Boots, Dixons, Phones4u, and the usual banking suspects.

Their brands have homogenised the landscape of our once quaint rural towns.

But now the big brands are moving online, perhaps the internet will achieve where English Heritage has failed. Will the independent butcher, the baker, and the green grocer return to the High Street thanks to the Web?

Charity shops too are plan-ning to desert the High Street. Many good causes have experienced a drop in the quality and quantity of items donated to their stores as people switch to the on-line auction sites such as Ebay to dispose of their cast offs. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, say the charities as they move to the virtual High Street.

Dixons' online sales have been increasing by more than 50 per cent each year, while its shop sales have been in decline. It's clear from PC World's recent advertising campaign encouraging people to buy from then online that they too are contemplating leaving the retail parks.

Ironically, it is their ubiquitous High Street presence that enabled the super brands to succeed online - gaining shoppers' trust is the biggest barrier to on-line sales.

By moving the Dixon brand online, and re-naming the remaining high street stores 'Curry.Digital', which will sell white goods, DSG are being very astute. The Dixon brand is worth more to them online.

Sadly, for the frustrated boyfriend in tow, looking at f ridges and washing machines will not provide the same relief as Dixon's array of digital toys did, leaving Maplin and the Apple Stores as our only sanctuaries.

* Chris is managing director of internet consultancy WAA WebXpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at E-mail