A VINTAGE clothing store in Winchester is closing after nine years due to a drop in sales following the pandemic.
Stardust Years, a vintage clothing store which focuses on vintage accessories, clothing, shoes and jewelery in Walcote Place, is closing on Sunday June 19 after a lack of footfall in the High Street and an increase in service charges.
Owner Karen Fitzsimmons thinks the time has come to move to online sales with the rising cost of living.
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She said: “After nine years I think now is the best time to close because things have gotten so slow. I think a lot of what we sell is event and holiday related and ever since the pandemic, people have been slow to earn their trust, and with the rising cost of living, it’s time to focus on the internet.
Karen noticed footfall dwindling further up the High Street, with people turning around when going to Barclays Bank. She said: “It stops when you get to Barclays and I think it’s a bit of a psychological barrier, because when I walk into work people come into Barclays and think, ‘Oh, it must be that. We will walk back.”
“I think the focus on Winchester is the lower side of the High Street. I had a client come up and ask me how long I’ve been here, and she couldn’t believe it when I said nine years You get off at Park and Ride or walk around the corner where Barclays Bank is and think, “oh, all the shops must be in the High Street. “There are no signs to show which stores are here.
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“There’s a huge map near Rawlings Opticians that tells you where you are in town and where all the other shops are.”
Karen said her service costs and fees have tripled since last year.
She said: “That’s a lot of money for a small business, especially after Brexit and the pandemic.
“The service charge and everything else was the biggest issue. I think Winchester got expensive.”
Karen will be using her online store to keep Stardust Years running, with help from Etsy and parties in Hampshire.
Paul Spencer, Director of the BID, said: “I am truly sorry to hear this news.
“Over the years we have supported this business through a number of different projects and events.
“It’s sad news that the store is closing. I see business continuing online, and I wish them well.”
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