Reading all the posts, agree with juliantennishcoach - that most of the shops mentioned have all been on northcote road over the last 15 years but closed for one reason or another <lack of footfall, rents too high etc>.
Northcote Road has changed so many times since the early 80's <when the area started to 'gentrify'>.
The estate agent thing has happened before - at one point it felt like the only new shops opening were estate agents. As has been said - in times of recession they are the only ones who can easily afford the rents apart from large chains <with high markup/big margin products/services>.
The comments about Debenhams are interesting. From my point of view they tend to have a lot of tat wherever they are - even in Oxford Street, I'd rather go to John Lewis <don't get me started about Selfridges nowadays - expensive bling/tat central!>.
When Debenhams took over A&H they closed all the departments that made it useful.
Regarding Hardware stores - we used to have one on Northcote (Richmonds - where the burger place is now), and one on Webbs. But there a nice little store up on St Johns Hill - i think its just before you get to the church at Louvaine road < in fact there are some really nice shops up there - it reminds me of Northcote road about 10 years ago before the chains took hold.>
Where there are still 'normal' shops in Northcote Road, its largely because they own the property so arnt paying silly rent, or they are lucky enough to have a landlord who charges sensible rent (rarer than rocking-horse pooh i suspect!)
I thought the comment about banks ironic - the road used to have two banks - both are now bars
You can get cash back at the Co-Op or its not much further to walk to Nationwide/Natwest in St Johns Road.
We had a post office (the shop it was in was really tatty) but that went in their latest cull along with the one at Abbeville. Now it's a trot up as far as Asda on Lavender Hill...
My latest favourite local place to shop is Tooting Broadway - they have a Wilkinsons (this is Woolworths as it was in they days when it was still a useful store..), and they have loads of other good shops, and parking and so on.
The only thing i really wish we had in CLapham Junction was a decent gym with a pool (if Virgin took over Fitness First and built a pool i'd join tomorrow). Mind you - has anyone been to the new pool in Clapham yet? Its really nice and only cost £4 for an adult swim!
I agree we need a decent electronics shop - but i suspect these sorts of shops have been sacrificed to competition from the Internet and the Sheds. I only used Curry's to buy emergency cables (and actually there is a computer hardware shop next to the foam place on battersea rise which is quite useful), if i want to buy anything significant i go to the one just over the bridge.
Don't think there is much that can be done about what sorts of shops open as local councils can only control what goes where to a certain extent (type of use), and landlords are always going to offer to the highest bidder - and why shouldnt they? you wouldnt rent your house for less so that essential occupations like nurses and teachers could afford to live there!