Little Gems at Castle Dene shopping center in Peterlee will close its doors until November 1 due to a decline in footfall in the store and ongoing cost of living concerns.
Marie Ibbitson, owner of The School Outfit, which runs Little Gems, said keeping the store open was not “feasible” as the store could not cover its costs.
She said they tried to keep the site open as long as possible to keep staff at their jobs, but unfortunately were forced to close.
Read more: Forum Music Studios in Darlington plans to expand
She said: “We are online, the business is not gone. We will remain in business and will be opening pop-up shops in schools.”
“We will go into schools and sell uniforms in schools that will be delivered to them like a free delivery service instead of the normal delivery costs.”
“We do our best with the school uniforms, the baby clothes are really harder because a lot of people are now looking for baby clothes online, so it’s a dying industry.”
“We’ve been at The Chare in Peterlee for over 30-35 years now, it’s just the way things are going in the centre, all the shops in the center are closing.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision, it’s really sad. It’s like a family business.”
Read more: Man arrested over Wynyard Mews, assault in Hartlepool released on bail
Ms Ibbitson added that the company’s other sites in Washington and Sunderland remain open and performing well.
She said much of the store’s business has come from online sales since the pandemic began, but that won’t continue.
“It has hit us hard,” Ms Ibbitson added.
She added they had informed schools of her departure from the mall and said they were “sad to see her go”.
She said all of the clothing that would have been available at the Peterlee store was still on her website and that her entire inventory of school clothing had been moved to her Washington website.
Get more news, politics and entertainment coverage from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus subscription for just £5 for 5 months. Click here.
She estimated that the store had supplied clothing to more than 100 schools in the area and that the uniforms could continue to be delivered to the schools free of charge.
Additionally, she said they plan to take monthly trips to area schools.
The company uses its own factory in Washington for embroidery and said it does so to keep costs down for parents.