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Meeks Shoes reopens stores after seeing 200% increase in online sales during lockdown

Tom Bottomley
17 July 2020

Family-run footwear retailer Meeks Shoes, which sells men’s, women’s and children’s footwear across brands including Clarks, Ecco, Kickers, Skechers, GEOX, Superga and Start Rite, has just reopened four of its five stores in the north west.

The 119-year old business has seen online sales treble during lockdown – now accounting for 40% of total sales.

Meeks Shoes received support from Barclays through the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Its stores are located in Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Sale and Alderley Edge. The latter will be the last one to reopen.

The loan, worth £150,000, has been used to cover rent, staff salaries and pay suppliers, as well as helping to support updates to the company’s website, which was originally launched in 2010, following a 200% increase in online sales during lockdown.

Edward Meeks established Meeks Shoes in 1901 in Ashton-under-Lyne and the business has remained in the family for four generations, with Edward’s great-grandson, John, now the owner overseeing all five stores across Lancashire and Cheshire.

Meeks Shoes

John Meeks said: “We are a family business and have been serving our community for almost 120 years. Our CBIL allowed us to focus on the future, helping us with our rent payments, as well as pay suppliers and staff. Even before the pandemic the retail industry had been grappling with rising rents and increased online competition.

“So, we’ve also used the lockdown period as an opportunity to update our website and our online takings have trebled during this time, which has helped while our physical stores have been closed.

“While we expect the next 12 months to be tough, we’ve adjusted to all the social distancing measures necessary so stores remain safe for customers.”

John Darkes, relationship director for South Manchester at Barclays Business Banking, added: “Family businesses like Edward Meeks are institutions and it is essential that we support them in whatever way we can during these uncertain times.”

Meeks Shoes is ensuring all staff wear the appropriate PPE, with door staff and walkway systems ensuring social distancing when entering its stores.

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