A SHOE shop popular with families has closed its doors after more than two decades in Portsmouth.
Clarks, in Arundel Street, shut down last week. Council records show that it has been trading from that unit since at least 1999.
A statement from the firm said: ‘Clarks continually reviews all its stores to ensure that they are the right size and located in the right areas in order to provide the best possible offering and environment on the high street to its customers.
‘As a result, our store in Arundel Street will be closing. We have a strong duty of care to our employees and are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on colleagues.
‘All team members are being consulted with and we are exploring all avenues to find them suitable alternatives. Our customers can continue to shop in-store with us at our nearby stores at Gunwharf Quays and Southsea, as well as being able to choose from our full range online.’
Clarks was founded in Somerset in 1825 and it has more than 1,000 branded stores and franchises around the world.
It still has stores in Palmerston Road, Southsea, and Gunwharf Quays. It also has stores in Fareham Shopping Centre, High Street Gosport, West Street Havant and Whiteley Shopping Centre.
The closure follows the news that independent fancy dress and toy shop U-Need-Us, also on Arundel Street, is to close at the end of March after more than 95 years in business.
Also in Portsmouth city centre, children’s clothing and merchandise store Mothercare is to close this month and fashion clothing brand New Look closed its main store and moved in to a smaller unit in Cascades Shopping Centre at the end of last year.
The departures have prompted fears for the future of Portsmouth’s high street.
Deputy group leader of Portsmouth Conservatives Luke Stubbs said: 'Across the retail industry people's shopping patterns are changing.
'Close by to Clarks is U-Need-Us that announced its closure recently - there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
'It is important that the council does everything it can to stop future decline.’