We say goodbye to another British high street store.
Hearing the news that Tie Rack is to close its 44 remaining UK outlets is like reading the obituary of a celebrity you thought had died a decade ago.It's amazing to think that right up until this month there were still Tie Racks anywhere. It's an inevitable fate for a widely recognised but faded brand – after a while it becomes invisible. When you look along a modern high street, the Tie Rack sign doesn't even register.
At its height Tie Rack had more than 300 shops in 31 countries, including the US, where I'm from, which would account for the vague memory I have of visiting one once. I must have been short of a tie, on my way to a place where I needed one and passing through the concourse of a major transport hub at the time.
This is an increasingly rare confluence of circumstances – ties are no longer a required item of dress to the extent that you would purchase an emergency one for a single meeting. These days, it would have to be a funeral. And you probably wouldn't need to go to Tie Rack. The last time I bought a tie at an airport (wedding, very poor packing) I was spoilt for choice.
Of course, Tie Rack didn't just sell ties. Its range ran to cufflinks, scarves, gloves, belts and braces – all perfect for a 14-year-old boy with limited pocket money and a long Christmas list. But such accessories don't even make very good last-minute Father's Day presents any more, unless your dad is an Antiques Roadshow presenter. Today, most men buy their accessories from the designer outlets where they get their clothes. It's been a long time since Tie Rack was a destination retailer; now you wouldn't bother crossing the road. If, that is, you noticed the sign at all.
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