Shoe shop shines like new and goes online to boot

Olivia Nash cuts the ribbon to officially re-open Clarks in Larne's Main Street. INLT 07-305-PR
Olivia Nash cuts the ribbon to officially re-open Clarks in Larne's Main Street. INLT 07-305-PR

A HIGH street retailer in Larne has reported an increase in trade after undergoing a major refurbishment.

Clarks shoe shop, which is operated as a franchise by the family-run Burnview Group, has benefitted from a cash injection to the tune of £80,000.

The private investment has transformed the interior and exterior of the Main Street premises and provided new tools to help the business stay competitive in the modern age of internet shopping.

The branch, which has been trading since 2001, was closed for about two weeks while the re-fit was carried out and reopened at the end of January.

It now boasts a new shop front, a new layout, and new technology to offer customers a better shopping experience.

Gavin Kelly of Burnview Group said: “We are encouraged by Clarks to update our premises every eight years or so.

The last time we carried out a refit was back in 2003, so we decided now was the right time.

“The shop now has a much fresher look and the new layout has maximised the space available.

“We now have a much bigger kids’ section and a better overall environment for both customers and staff.

“The money was also spent on a number of other upgrades that will not be immediately apparent to customers, such as new electrical wiring and a new alarm system.”

But one of the most significant additions to the new-look Clarks is the ability for shoppers to place orders online while they are instore.

Gavin added: “We, like all other high street retailers, have to compete with the increasing influence of internet shopping.

“To this end, we now have a tablet in-store that allows us to use the internet to our advantage.

“If a customer cannot find a product they are after, staff can help them look through our range of stock online via the tablet and order the item for collection or delivery. This helps us to remain competitive and relevant.

“There has been a definite increase in trade since our reopening last month and hopefully that will continue,” Gavin concluded.