South Tyneside’s retail revival has been dealt a body blow after trading mainstay Burton revealed it is to shut up shop.
Bosses of the menswear brand have confirmed its outlet in King Street, South Shields, the borough’s main shopping thoroughfare, is to close.
They would not confirm the exact reason or date, but retail insiders say it could be as early as Saturday, January 5.
Burton, part of businessman Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, has been a feature on the town’s High Street since at least the mid-1980s.
Its then neighbours included giants such as Woolworths, Binns and Marks and Spencer.
All three have now disappeared from King Street, the last being Marks and Spencer in 2014.
People need to believe.Coun John Anglin
Just a month ago, Scarborough retailer Boyes opened within the unit, which had remained vacant.
An Arcadia Group spokeswoman said: “I can confirm the store is to close. I don’t have more details at this stage.
“We are constantly reviewing our store portfolio across the group, investing in flagship stores, and increasing our brands’ digital presence.
“Our click and collect service across the brands is also proving a successful way of helping our customers collect their purchases at a location most convenient to them.
“We endeavour to offer current staff other employment options within the Arcadia Group.”
Fellow retailers described the move as significant loss to the town and dampens fresh impetus seen with the opening of Boyes.
The move also comes as South Tyneside Council continues its £100m investment in its 365 town centre regeneration plan.
A trader, who did not want to be named, said: “Burton is almost synonymous with King Street, it has been there for many years.
“It is a real and genuine shame that it is to close and shows just how volatile and difficult trading on the High Street remains.
“It’s closure will bring to an end an era of South Shields that so many people fondly remember.
“Progress around 365 is being made, but this seems like a real kick in the teeth.”
As well as Boyes, the Post Office has also started trading in another disused retail unit in King Street, switching from existing nearby premises as part of 365.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and the economy, said: “It is always horrible to see a company who has been with us for so long having to go, it’s a sad situation.
“But on the other side we are seeing investment in a big way.
“Just yards away we have Nexus investing millions, we’ve had a new store Boyes opening it’s doors in recent weeks and there is more interest from private investors.”
He added: “People need to believe, change is happening and it is coming.”