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Bradford Sportsshoes shop to close after rent rise
11:00am Friday 4th May 2012 in News
An iconic Bradford sportswear shop founded by former Bradford City footballer Bruce Bannister will close at the end of July after failure to agree terms on a new lease.
The Sportsshoes business will focus on its expanding Shipley-based online and mail order operations through which it sells goods to customers in 100 countries.
Its head office and distribution centre for 3,000 products employs about 80 staff in Thackley Old Road, which has twice been extended and doubled its workforce in recent years.
The 14 staff at Bradford’s oldest independent sportswear store are being offered the chance to transfer to the purpose-built Shipley site.
The 16,000 sq ft shop in Hall Ings will close for the final time at the end July, following the termination of its lease agreement with landlord and car park operator, NCP.
Founder Bruce Bannister criticised the property agents for demanding an unrealistic rent, saying they were comparing Bradford with a suburb of London.
His son Brett, managing director, said negotiations over the lease had been continuing for 18 months, but the parties had been unable to reach agreement and the new rent would not have been commercially viable.
The Sportsshoes, store opened in 1982 to offer a selection of sports footwear, clothing and accessories, has become an institution for many customers who had access to expert staff as well as extensive product ranges.
Brett Bannister stressed the store closure was not due to declining business. The company has continued to grow year-on-year sales both in the UK and overseas, and direct sales now accounted for about 90 per cent of trade. The firm sells more than 250,000 pairs of trainers a year and dispatches more than 350,000 orders worldwide.
The Bannisters have not ruled out opening another shop if a suitable site could be found at the right cost.
Bruce Bannister said: “As a Yorkshire businessman, born and bred in Bradford, I’m passionate about my home city and the store is close to my heart. So it is with great regret that we have to announce the closure of our Sportsshoes retail unit.”