Lebeado shuts up shop in Jesmond
Big rents, high rates, disappointing sales and better opportunities in London are the main reasons jewellery and accessories retailer Lebeado is closing its branch on Jesmond’s Acorn Road, says co-founder Kate Watkin.
Lebeado opened the Jesmond store in 2008 following a successful first year of trading at its first shop in Durham. But while the Durham store and Lebeado’s online operations will remain open, the Acorn Road branch will shut to enable Watkin and her mother and business partner Jill Watkin to open a store inside the new Westfield Shopping Centre in London’s Shepherd’s Bush.
“It’s very sad but it’s about going forward as a business,” Watkin told JesmondLocal. “Our takings have been down in Jesmond where the rents and rates for independent retailers like us are unfeasible. Something really needs to be done about that.
“Our Durham branch has been more than washing its face, but it has been subsidising the Jesmond shop. The manager in our Acorn Road store was already planning to leave, so thankfully no-one will be losing their job.”
Watkin, who has spent much of the last year in London, says she had not originally envisaged opening a store in a shopping centre, but that the Westfield Centre’s rate-free offer was too good to miss. “Thankfully the Lebeado brand is doing well, we are a finalist in the forthcoming National Retail Awards and the response in London, where we’ve been doing a lot of beading parties, has been very positive.
“In some respects it seems a crazy time to be leaving Acorn Road with people like Oxfam and Me Me Me opening new shops. And there has been plenty of interest in our lease. But I wouldn’t rule out coming back to Jesmond and Acorn Road one day because I love the vibe here.”