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A sterile promontory

The week's news at a glance.

Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K.

Chain stores are ruining Shakespeare’s hometown, The New York Times reported this week. The streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, once home to quaint mom-and-pop stores, have been overrun by large franchises like Starbucks, Country Casuals, and the British clothing giant Marks & Spencer. The house where the playwright was born is one of the few remaining 16th-century buildings. Stratford and other small towns across Britain have begun searching for ways to reverse the homogenization of their main streets, offering tax incentives to help small shops compete with superstores. “Unless you take some constructive action now, it will resemble the U.S.,” said David Bishop, a spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses. “It is a real danger.”

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