The CEO of Ingledew Shoes, Dr. Bill Ingledew, says his company is liquidating all of its inventory over the next few months because it can't compete with the rise of online retailing.
Ingledew's Shoes is a 102-year-old locally owned business with a flagship store at 900 West Hastings Street, as well as outlets in the Oakridge Centre, Park Royal South, Brentwood Mall, and Richmond Centre malls. It also has a store in the Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria.
The store on 900 West Hastings opened in 2015 to celelebrate the company's 100th anniversary.
"For so many years of my life I have shared with each one of you the common objective of satisfying your individual footwear needs by providing you with quality shoes, boots and sandals, sourced from exceptional producers all over the world, and presented to you by knowledgeable professional sales personnel, many of whom have become trusted friends of yours over the years," Ingledew stated on the company website. "During my own nearly 50 years with Ingledew's, a company that this Spring celebrated 102 years of continuous business in British Columbia, my life also has been enriched by having encountered and befriended so many of you."
However, he noted that there has been an "epic change" in retailing as consumers went online to conduct prepurchase research without visiting a store.
"The simultaneous steady increases in costs of maintaining a physical retail presence, in particular rents, construction costs and costs related to the personnel required to properly operate a professional business have presented unprecedented challenges to everyone with a legitimate retail business," Ingledew noted. "Unfortunately, our little company has, over the past few years, increasingly felt the impact of the rapidly changing retail environment. Rents and wage costs have escalated at an alarming rate while sales in most of our stores have faltered."
He added that the company's efforts to sell online could not reverse "slowly eroding revenues".
"To those of you who have favored us with your patronage over the years, I am extremely grateful as you have enabled our family to provide meaningful employment to hundreds of outstanding individuals over our 102 years," he stated. "I thank you for your support and for the memories which will last a lifetime."