Clothes store to shut doors after 14 years in business

Harpers in the town’s High Street has been established since 2009.

Owner and buyer John Harper blamed the decision on “a changing climate” and the cost of living crisis but also the opening of the new Sports Direct in Marriotts Walk and the partial closure of the high street.

Harpers shared the news on Facebook, saying it was a “heartbreaking” and “devastating” decision “but one that is necessary”.

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The post said “a combination of pressure from suppliers to buy more, pay up front, Sports Direct coming with the brands I’ve had for years” and “an understandable downturn in sales due to the cost of living” were behind the closure.

“The closure of the High Street has certainly not helped either,” it said.

Harpers thanked the customers and said the shop brought more to the town than just clothing.

“We’ve helped boys get ready for their proms, picked date outfits, wedding outfits, Father’s Day presents, Christmas presents and everything in between.

“We were part of your community and we’ve loved it.

“So thank you to each and everyone of you that has made a purchase over the years to keep us there for so long, your loyalty has been incredible.”

Mr Harper wrote: “All I ever wanted was to own my own clothes shop. I can say I achieved this dream and did it well for a long time.

“The high street is a tough place now and times have changed so I hold my head high and move on.

“I don’t know yet what the future has in store for me but I have to admit I won’t miss the headaches or the pressure that I’ve faced recently.”

He thanked “all the staff we’ve had throughout the years”.

The small two-storey shop sells designer menswear, shoes, trainers and accessories from brands such as Lacoste, Lyle & Scott, Pretty Green, Weekend Offender, Gym King, Fila and Peaceful Hooligan.

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Sports Direct took over the vacant two-floor Debenhams store in Marriotts Walk last August and opened in September after a refurbishment.

The casual wear giant is Europe’s biggest retailer of sports and fitness footwear, clothing and equipment.

Harpers is now holding a closing down sale with bargains on offer.

“Pop in before we close and see what amazing offers we have on,” the shop said.


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