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High street retailer set to close

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A high street retailer looks set to leave Stroud after displaying ‘closing down’ signs in its window. 

Shoe Zone is a popular retailer and can be considered a staple of the British high street having been around since the 1980s.

Tony Davey, Chairman of the Stroud and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “To lose any business, especially one as long-established as Shoe Zone from our town, is sad, as is the loss of jobs and the impact it has on those employees who work there and their families.

“Primarily we hope those employees are supported to find alternative positions elsewhere and we have notified our network in case any have current or upcoming vacancies.

DSC2057 | High street retailer set to close
Tony Davey, Chair of Stroud Chamber of Trade. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

“Part of our role as the Chamber of Trade and Commerce is to be aware of the financial position of some national businesses within our towns.

“It is public record that Shoe Zone, like many other chains, are facing challenges in the current economic climate. Last year also saw large numbers of store closures, with in the region of 52 closures. This year has seen more store closures before this announcement for Stroud.

“Such losses were attributed to factors including the National Living Wage rise and pressures associated with inflation. Any business selling low value, low margin goods needs large sale volumes to remain profitable – this is increasingly more difficult to achieve. Further, all chains will review their estate regularly and make difficult decisions regarding store closures and openings.

“This problem is national, not simply local, as are the rate of shop losses. Many losses are currently centred around national chains, as we have learned with M&Co, Halfords and (at the time of writing) Wilko too. Add that to Banks leaving their communities (only one pop-up remains) we are seeing how people use and interact with our high streets and towns is changing; towns are adapting and evolving in the light of those changes. Independent businesses are more agile by their very nature, allowing them to be more flexible about their offerings and their profit margin model.”

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