Plans afoot to save town shoe shops

Closing down sale, D&E Shoes
Closing down sale, D&E Shoes

Interest has been shown by potential buyers to save two struggling Galloway shoe shops whose fate seemed sealed earlier this week, The Galloway Gazette has learned.

The company behind D.E Shoes, which has shops in Stranraer, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas employing 19 people, announced on Tuesday that no buyers had been found to take over and it would therefore be forced to close down its many shops across Scotland.

But the Galloway Gazette was told this week that interest has been shown in saving the Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas stores, possibly by the same Stewartry buyer who has been told that there is interest from several purchasers.

A consultation period was imposed by D.E Shoes’ parent company, William Smith (Shoe Merchants) Ltd in January which drew to a close last Friday.

Time will now be of the essence for potential buyers as the stores began stock clearance on Wednesday with a 25 percent-off sale.

The company has managed to sell five other stores in March and confirmed that there does continue to be some interest in a small number of the remaining outlets.

Managing Director Robert Sinclair blamed a change in shopping habits and a lack of interest in high street stores for the decline of the business.

He summed up his feelings by saying: “I am immensely sad that in the company’s 146th year it has proved necessary to decide to wind it up.

“The last months have been incredibly difficult for everyone but I have been grateful for the ongoing support from members of the public.

“I have also been enormously proud of the professionalism shown by our staff throughout the last few weeks.”