Shop to close after more than a century in town

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A SHOE shop that has been in Bury St Edmunds for more than 100 years is closing down.

Staff at Stead & Simpson, on Cornhill, have been told the shop will close by the time its lease runs out on March 24. A spokeswoman for the shop said “We’re not 100 per cent sure when we’ll finish selling. It might be the weekend before, March 19.”

Established in 1834, the Stead & Simpson chain has been taken over by the owners of Shoezone, which also has a shop in Bury. Some of the eight Stead & Simpson staff will be found jobs there and others will be offered jobs in other branches. The spokeswoman added: “There may be some redundancies, but we don’t know how many yet.”

Customers have shown staff pictures of Bury town centre taken in the 1800s showing a Stead & Simpson store and say many regular customers have told them how their families have shopped there for generations.

A staff member, who did not want to be named, said: “One lady, a regular customer who must be in her 90s, said she used to bring her son here for shoes, and he’s retired now.

“Our customers are as devastated as we are. We want to say thanks for all their support. They’ve been great coming in and saying they’re sorry to see us go.”

One internet rumour is that Barclays has shown an interest in the shop and neighbouring premises, but no planning application for change of use had been submitted by Wednesday.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “The Barclays branch network is one of the largest and most widespread in the UK. There are regular changes as we work to ensure we have branches where customers need and use them. With regard to Bury St Edmunds, we are not able to comment at the current time.”