Clarks shoes could close up to 50 shops nationwide

Clarks could be closing up to 50 stores nationwide as part of its rescue deal by a private equity fi

Clarks could be closing up to 50 stores nationwide as part of its rescue deal by a private equity firm. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

One of Britain’s oldest shoe shops, Clarks, with stores across Norfolk, is preparing to close stores for good.

It is understood the closures are necessary as part of a rescue deal for Clarks, led by Hong Kong-based private equity firm LionRock Capital. This deal is apparently dependent on approval by creditors of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). This allows a firm in debt to pay its creditors over a fixed period and continue trading.

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Clarks, founded in 1825 by Cyrus and James Clark, has shops in Brigg Street and Riverside, Norwich, as well as in King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and in Suffolk, in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Sudbury and Ipswich and March, Cambridgeshire. It is not yet known if any of these stores are affected.

Last year the firm stated it would be pulling out of high streets after it posted results showing its turnover had dropped and its books were also hit by a devaluation of its properties - down £50m across the UK and US.

Pippa Stephens, retail analyst at data and analytics firm GlobalData, said: “The retailer had 521 stores in the UK (including concessions) at the end of 2019, and should have started the process of eliminating stores much earlier, as consumers have increasingly been shifting to purchasing online in recent years.”

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Clarks became synonymous as the brand parents chose for their children’s first pair of shoes. The firm evolved from the slipper created by the Clarks to the world’s first foot-shaped shoe, children’s ranges in whole sizes, half sizes and a choice of widths to the firm’s iPad foot gauge.

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