Clarks Abingdon: Shoe shop reopens after closing with ‘almost no warning’

A beloved Clarks shoe store in Abingdon, a town it served for over two decades, is set to make a comeback.

Customers were surprised by the abrupt closure of the Bury Street precinct store in April – but might now be happy to find out about its return.

There was “almost no warning” before a sign went up in the window and emotional staff said their goodbyes “in tears”, according to the Oxford Mail.

It has been reported that the franchisee operating both the Abingdon and Wallingford Clarks stores decided to shut them down.

But a new franchisee, Robert Bates, has decided to breathe new life into the Abingdon store, while Wallingford won’t be seeing a Clarks return.

Mr Bates is optimistic that Abingdon has enough customer traffic to sustain the shop.

The franchisee told the publication: “I run 13 other Clarks shops from Neath in West Wales to Witney and Stratford.

“I opened the Stratford store last year and I’m loving it – I started working for Clarks when I as 24 years old.”

Mr Bates expressed plans for a relaunch of the Abingdon Clarks store early next month, with previous staff members offered the chance to return to work.

“I have spoken to the staff and I think at least two of them will be returning,” Mr Bates said.

“Business rates remain a challenge – I’ve taken a five-year lease.

“I’m a great fan of Clarks as a brand – globally it is very well received in Asia and America and I don’t think the British people respect it enough.”

It comes following a series of closures throughout 2023 across England and Wales, ahead of which the brand revealed it was working with store teams and employees affected.

The popular footwear chain was founded in 1825 and once operated across over 1,400 stores and franchises internationally. As of July 2023, however, the brand operated just 320 stores.

Source link