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Exclusive Footwear in Breeze takeover

York premium indie Exclusive Footwear has acquired one of Newcastle upon Tyne’s oldest independents, Breeze Footwear.

Exclusive Footwear owner Frances Chalmers will relaunch the 1,000 sq ft footwear store on the city’s central Shakespeare Street under the Exclusive Footwear fascia in late August.

Chalmers said she would reposition the store to target Newcastle’s trend-led young shoppers without alienating its 40-plus core customer. “The store is performing well because older customers are the biggest spenders in the current climate,” said Chalmers. “But I did market research and locals said they stopped shopping there because they perceived it as being too old.”

Chalmers will keep brands that did well at Breeze, including Timberland and K&S, and add top-selling brands from her York store such as Ash and Hunter.

Chalmers said she had been seeking a second store for several years following a strong performance from the 700 sq ft York store and website - total sales rose 47% in the year to April 30, and growth has been in double digits for each month since. Exclusive Footwear has three concessions in Northeast premium indie chain The House.

Breeze was founded in 1982 by Paul Ward, who sold up due to ill health. Chalmers has re-employed Ward to consult on a part-time basis and recruited a store manager and two sales assistants.

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