There is an irony in record sales leading a much-loved family firm taking the decision to close its High Street shop, but this is the next step forward for Cheltenham’s Keith Scarrott Shoes.
First opened by her father, who gave his name to the boutique town centre store, the business has been run by Sophie Scarrott for the last 16 years.
And it has continued to enjoy success with its upmarket shoes, boots and handbags – further developing a thriving online business through the pandemic, which has just delivered record digital sales.
Ms Scarrott, also on the board of the business group Cheltenham BID, said: ‘The pandemic has allowed us to push forward with our digital plans at a much faster pace than planned.
‘We have worked really hard to master the online platforms we use, which thankfully, has led to a phenomenal growth in sales – over 400 per cent – which is enabling us to take this leap into a digitally-led retail future.’
‘We have pivoted and adapted throughout, for example, increasing our product range last summer to include a hugely popular line of trainers and country boots as customers moved towards a more casual lockdown wardrobe.
‘It was that flexibility which helped to accelerate our growth beyond all expectations.’
Development of the online arm of the brand began more than three years ago when they partnered with Maybe*, the online shopping platform.
Polly Barnfield OBE, CEO of Maybe*, said, ‘To expand after 12 months of Lockdown is extraordinary. Sophie’s story provides inspiration to independent retailers.
‘I have no doubt that she will fly even higher with her new model that represents the future of the High Street. We look forward to working with her as she evolves. Go where the customers are, online and offline.’
Keith Scarrott Shoes’ headquarters will remain in Cheltenham, with plans to run pop-up shops in Oxfordshire, Cheshire and London.
Eagle-eyed shoppers and loyal followers of the Gloucestershire brand will have seen the windows of its Promenade shop already announcing its closing down sale before doors shut for good on Saturday 3 July 2021.
By Andrew Merrell