race is over for oldest sports shop | UK | News

Fierce competition from out-of-town shopping centres and online retailers has left the Oxford institution with dwindling sales while costs rise. 

Since opening in Turl Street in 1911 it has become the official supplier of sporting kit for several generations of Oxford University teams. 

Now the store is to close at the end of December although its online business, based in a village outside the city, will continue to sell team and school wear. 

Owner Judith Barrows said the closure would be a “sad day and the end of an era” and urged people to embrace independent shops, adding: “They need you to survive and thrive.” 

Ben Cook, the shop’s manager for the past decade, said: “We are closing because shopping habits have changed, more people are shopping online. 

“At the same time rates and rents have gone up making it really hard to survive on the high street. 

Mr Cook added: “This store deserves a real send-off for people to realise what they have lost. 

“The first-ever proper studded rugby boot was designed downstairs in the cellar of the shop. 

“It’s steeped in history with many famous faces coming though the door even to this day. 

“It is too late to save us now – but it certainly needs to be recognised for the service it’s given to the sports trade over the past 100 years.”

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