One of London’s oldest shops is to shut its doors for a final time after it said it was unable to pay its rent following the impact of the pandemic. Sailing outfitter Arthur Beale on Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End is to close after 150 years in the location.
It was inevitable that some classic London places would not survive the economic damage of the pandemic. The latest is the famous sailing retailer Arthur Beale, which has been trading for almost 500 years – 150 at its current location.
Locals tended to call it the ‘mad sailing shop’ because of its long history and specialized nature.
The company itself, which sells sailing equipment and accessories, was formed as John Buckinghams around 500 years ago.
The retailer is the latest to say its bricks and mortar business has been a casualty of the pandemic.
Arthur Beale said it will close the store on June 24 and has launched a clearance sale.
The business said it will continue to operate online and hopes to have a London presence again “some time in the future.”
In a statement on social media, the company said: “The impact of Covid-19 means the company can no longer warrant paying the rents that a central London shop demands, so we have no choice but to move on to pastures new.
“We were left in a very precarious state as a result of the pandemic, but luckily for us, we have found two enthusiastic new investors to help inject some much-needed capital back into the business.”
Central London retailers have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, with footfall significantly below pre-pandemic levels due to a sharp reduction in tourism and commuter numbers.
London footfall fell by 47.7% in the four weeks to May 1 compared with the same period in 2019, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium.