North East footwear retailer, Charles Clinkard says it is having to close its Middlesbrough and Redcar stores later this year.

The company says it is 'responding to shifts in the North East high street' and needs to focus on stronger business performance in other stores and online. The shoe store in Redcar will shut on Saturday 27th July, while the original Middlesbrough store on Corporation Road will close its doors on Saturday 24th August.

Charles Clinkard, Group Managing Director at The Clinkard Group said: "We have found the rise of Teesside Park, coupled with the pervasive shift towards online shopping in these areas, has altered consumer habits and demographics for good.

"This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, and we are deeply saddened that we will be losing some of our North East footprint, especially in such a milestone year.

"Our original Middlesbrough store was established by my grandparents Charles and Eveline Clinkard in 1924 and Redcar followed in 1959, with both stores being a cornerstone of the local retail landscape, catering to generations of families with exceptional customer service.

“We have gone into our 100th anniversary year in a strong financial position and the strategic decision has been made to reflect the changing retail landscape on the high street in the North East, which has meant our store portfolio has needed to evolve with this to allow for future growth and longevity.

“As the eCommerce business continues to grow, this allows us to invest more heavily into our IT systems in the coming years, which has started by bringing multiple software development projects in-house over recent months, improving our online stock availability and optimising our redistribution process. This has allowed us to recruit more highly skilled developers to support the growth of online sales, something we will continue to prioritise.

“Although the Middlesbrough and Redcar stores have faced unique changes and challenges over the years, we remain invested in the high street, something that is very much at the core of our business.

“We also remain committed to our people and customers. Efforts will be made to support affected staff members in transitioning to new opportunities within the business. Additionally, we will continue to support the people of the region in various ways including charitable initiatives.

“We hope we can continue to support the local area with our offerings at Teesside Park and other regional outlets, or by embracing the convenience of online shopping.

"As the sun sets on this chapter of the Charles Clinkard story, we hope our legacy of quality footwear and unparalleled customer service will continue. The company looks forward to continuing its journey, embracing new horizons while honouring our family heritage.”

In 2023, both Charles Clinkard’s eCommerce and stores performed well, with a +7% and +6% increase compared to 2022’s performance respectively.

The business had an increasingly strong autumn and winter season thanks to it rolling out a successful live trial of in-house machine learning software designed to optimise redistribution.

 In 2024, the business paid higher-than-inflation salary increases to its store teams, as well as increase spending on internal resources and professional fees to acquire new stores across the UK.