Vision Express on King Street closes
Shoppers in South Shields has been a dealt blow after national eye care specialist Vision Express confirmed its branch is to close.
The outlet in King Street will shut permanently at close of trading on Saturday, June 29.
The UK’s third largest optical retailer gave no reason for its exit, but it is believed staff will be redeployed.
It comes days after King Street-based Yorkshire Linen also closed after its parent company went into administration.
The losses are a setback to hopes the town will enjoy a retail revival in the wake of the ongoing South Shields 365 rejuvenation scheme.
The South Tyneside Council-led project is seeing millions of pounds spent on a new transport interchange and shopping and leisure facilities.
Retail boss Phil Goodfellow, 44, co-owner of designer menswear outlet Northern Threads, in Ocean Road, South Shields, said: “The Vision Express closure really worries me.
“As a local independent retailer, I do have to ask just what is the master plan? Is there a plan for an influx of new retailers?
“It’s not all bad, and Northern Threads is doing well. We all want to make South Shields a better place.”
Councillor John Anglin, the council’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “We hope that the property is re-let as soon as possible by its owners.
“Here in South Shields, we are doing all we can to make the town centre an attractive place for business with the ongoing 365 regeneration which will increase footfall among shoppers.”
Onur Koksal, CEO at Vision Express, said: “As a business, we continuously review our store locations to ensure we can continue to provide the best possible service in the most convenient locations. In order to make sure all our customers enjoy a consistently high level of care and service, we have made the decision to close the South Shields store.
“Any customers affected by a store closure will be notified in advance and advised of their closest local store, where their records will be transferred. Colleagues will be supported with transfers to alternative stores.”