Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Shoe shop to close

Shoe shop to close

A SHOP in Henley selling women’s and children’s shoes is to close after more than a decade.

Manzana in Bell Street will shut after its final sale near the end of this month.

Owner Denise Fairbairn, who has run the business with her husband Gary since 2007, said the couple had enjoyed their time but were packing up for several reasons, including the coronavirus pandemic, during which they struggled.

The couple, who used to run a sister branch in Marlow, faced other personal and professional challenges and are near retirement age anyway.

Mrs Fairbairn said: “Trade and footfall were fine before coronavirus but there were several factors behind this decision, which we’d prefer not to discuss.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision and we spent a good amount of time thinking it through and weighing up whether it was right for us or not. I imagine we could have traded for longer without coronavirus but we made a decision not to.

“Like most businesses, we had some sort of relief from the Government but I think people’s shopping habits are moving online, particularly among younger people, and in the short-term some people are still nervous about coming out.

“It’s definitely getting harder and harder for retailers to survive because people’s shopping habits are changing and covid has brought a lot of those trends further forward.

“There will have to be a rethink of how things are done, such as the collection of rent and rates, but first and foremost the demand has to be there. Despite that, I feel positive and believe that retail will evolve to meet people’s expectations.

“We’ve had lots of people coming in to wish us well and are sad to be leaving but we’ve had a brilliant time in Henley. Our customers have all been lovely and this is such a vibrant community.”

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