THE owner of a popular children’s shoe shop has thanked customers as the business prepares to close for the final time.

Last month ParkLifeKids announced it would be shutting down, with clients and passers-by greeted by a poem in the store’s window confirming the closure.

Since the announcement owner Maria Harvey has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from customers.

Mrs Harvey said that following a post on social media about the shop closing she has received a wealth of responses.

“We’ve had 80 to 100 comments, everyone is really sad and every customer that comes in is saying that is really sad we are closing and will be missing.”

But she continued to say that “business has become more challenging in recent years”.

“It has been challenging in terms of increase in costs, increase in everyday costs from rates to employee costs and online has had an effect.”

Mrs Harvey said the business has thoroughly enjoyed its time in Winchester, having opened to fill a gap in the market.

“I am going to go on and do something new. I have been here nine years and my children have grown up with the shop.

“My youngest is now 10 and it is time for me to do something new.”

She added: “It has been an incredible first four days, queues of people outside the shop. Every other person says how sorry that we are going. We are really sorry for our customers that we are going.”

ParkLifeKids will close on January 31, but Mrs Harvey said this all depends on stock levels.

And the shop is not the only independent business preparing to close its doors, with Three Little Birds, which is in the Brooks Centre, announcing that it will close.

Major retailer Whittard of Chelsea has also announced that it will be closing. The tea, coffee and cocoa seller said on a poster “We’ll miss you, Winchester”, but it is not known when the store will shut.