IT has been announced that Stroud will lose its Clarks branch. 

The shoe shop - which is located in the high street - is due to close at the end of May this year. 

It comes as rival brand Shoe Zone is also due to close in the next couple of weeks.

Families wanting to buy school shoes will now have to travel outside of the town centre. 

Tony Davey, chair of the Stroud Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said the news was "very sad" and "will leave a gap to fill in the town". 

Meanwhile, the brand’s Gloucester store located in Eastgate Street is due to shut at the end of March 2024.

However, it is understood Cirencester Clarks, the Gloucester Quays Outlet Clarks and Cheltenham Clarks will all remain open. 

“We’d like to thank our loyal customers"

A Clarks spokesperson said: “Clarks confirms its store on Eastgate Street, Gloucester, will close at the end of March 2024, and its store on High Street, Stroud, will close at the end of May 2024. 

“We have a strong duty of care to all our employees, and we are working closely with the store teams as they go through a period of consultation. 

“We thank them all for their dedication in serving our customers over the years.

“We’d like to thank our loyal customers who have shopped with us at our stores in Gloucester city centre and Stroud. 

“We’ll be delighted to continue to serve them with our full range of products online and at our nearby Clarks stores in Cheltenham and Cirencester, as well as at our Outlet store at the Gloucester Quays.“

Stroud News and Journal: Clarks in Stroud High Street is closing down at the end of May this year Clarks in Stroud High Street is closing down at the end of May this year (Image: Newsquest)

"It will leave a gap to fill in the town" 

Mr Davey said: “My first thoughts are with the staff who may be impacted by the closure, with the hope they will be transferred to an alternative acceptable position or find alternative employment.

“National retailers have struggled in recent years and many review their estates regularly with a view to closures and cost cutting. 

“This is reflected by the “tombstones of the nationals” that litter our towns and cities across the UK.

“The current cost of living crisis, coupled with changes in retail offering and the operational savings of trading online, make such moves sadly inevitable. 

“I have personally been directed by Clarks staff to the Clarks website to make purchases, in recent visits to the Clarks store, which can’t help with the store viability. 

“After being a much-loved offering on our high street for so many years, with Milwards before it, it’s very sad to see this choice being made. 

“In the light of Shoe Zone, who not only are closing the Stroud branch but have closed multiple stores nationally, it will leave a gap to fill in the town offering.”

Clarks, which was founded in 1825 in Somerset and still has hundreds of stores across the UK. 

The brand shut a number of its branches last year, including in Dundee, Inverness, Newport and Norwich.