End of an era as Reids Shoes goes on the market

End of an era as Reids Shoes goes on the market
One of Belfast’s most famous family retail stores, Reid’s Shoes of Sandy Row, has gone on the market for £695,000.

The shop, which had been in operation for 74 years, closed during the first lockdown in March 2020, with the intention of reopening again, but has remained shuttered.

The family business, run by Philip Reid, now operates just one store, at Market Square in Lisburn.

The loss of the outlet will come as a blow to many people who have memories of getting their first shoes, school shoes and everyday footwear there.

The business was well-known for its customer service, giving every child who got a new pair of shoes a balloon and a bar of chocolate, and also took photographs of youngsters visiting for their first pair of shoes.

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said it was this service that made it the go-to place for many families, but a “perfect storm” of challenges had seemingly stripped away yet another independent retailer.

He added: “I know the business very well and it’s certainly a well-regarded independent retailer.

“It was a destination store and attracted people from all over Belfast and further afield.

“Its closure is another sad loss of a well-known independent and the local area will feel it. Whenever any retailer closes it means a loss of footfall for other businesses in the location.”

Mr Roberts said the pandemic delivered a blow to many independents, especially non-essential stores forced to close and which didn’t have an online presence to buffer loss of in-person sales.

In March 2020 Reid’s posted on its Facebook page that it would close its two stores as coronavirus spread.

In June 2020 it reopened the Lisburn store, but the Sandy Row outlet remained shut.