"Devastating blow" as two Oswald Bailey stores to close after business is sold (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Oswald Bailey stores in Winton and Parkstone to close after business is sold to Blacks Outdoors Group
TWO high street branches of the outdoor goods shop Oswald Bailey will close this Saturday after the business was sold.
The family-owned chain’s shops in Winton and Parkstone are holding closing down sales, along with a branch at Shirley in Southampton.
The remaining 14 stores in the business have been sold to Blacks Outdoors Group, which runs Millets, and will continue trading under the Oswald Bailey name for now. They include branches in Poole, Christchurch and Wimborne.
It is not known whether the family name will be kept in the longer term.
Oswald Bailey is 108 years old and was still run by the Bailey family until the sale.
The family will still run sister company Outdoorgear, which was founded by Oswald Bailey managing director Stephen Bailey 15 years ago and was one of the country’s first outdoor shops online.
Richard Wilson, chairman of Ashley Road Traders Association, said: “It’s a devastating blow for the area but it’s a sign of the times.”
He believed the Parkstone shop had been hit by the opening of the large Go Outdoors store at Poole’s Pitwines.
“So much for the economic recovery - it’s not working,” he said.
A statement from the company said: “This month, after 108 years of trading, Oswald Bailey’s bricks-and-mortar shops have been sold.
“Although the end of an era, this paves an exciting new path for web-only Outdoorgear, which management are confident will be more in keeping with modern shoppers’ needs.
“Outdoorgear has always been at the forefront of web retail and was one of the very first outdoor shops online.”
It added: “Although the Oswald Bailey high-street shops have been sold, the same ethos of honest trade and excellent service remains at the heart of Outdoorgear.
“Customers know, and reviews confirm, that Outdoorgear is a name to trust.
“Fifteen years after Outdoorgear was created, the team and Bailey family are excited about what the next 15 years may bring.”
It is thought that fewer than 10 jobs will be lost from the shop closures.
The company has stressed the sale of 14 shops saved more than 100 jobs.
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