A WOMAN'S sportswear shop in Winchester has moved its business online after closing its pop-up shopping centre store.

The Body Solution Wear, which was based in The Brooks Shopping Centre, closed its city centre store last month.

However the business, which started 10 months ago and sells stylish gym wear for women, maintains an active social media presence on Instagram and Facebook and is continuing to trade online.

Business owner SammyJo Avril-Andreassen said she could not afford the rents, rates and service charges associated with the shopping centre store and she urged people to continue to support her small local business by shopping online.

She also said she would be popping up at events and festivals, and that she was actively looking for a more affordable high street unit in either Winchester or Southampton.

Sammy, who lives in Winchester, said: "When you are a small business, you are never given the chance. I just don't have pockets deep enough to continue in that unit."

Sammy said that her pop-up licence and lease came to an end at the end of May.

She said she would be continue to build her brand and that she hopes to set up a fitness community.

Sammy, who studied fashion, said: "This is what makes me happy. I am passionate about sports and fashion. I have combined my two loves. I love meeting people through my brand and working out. I would love to create a community where people can work out each other. I want to support every body, whatever shape or size. However you look, you should love the body you are in, that's my mantra."

READ MORE: The Body Solution Wear: Pop up shop in Winchester

Sammy urged people to log on to her social media pages and also to sign up for alerts, which will keep people updated with her latest fashions, where she will be trading and give updates on her plans for a community.

She added: "We are very much a Winchester-based brand. I live in Winchester and I hope the people of Winchester will continue to support me."

The shop windows are now covered up, with builders renovating the space ahead of children's soft play area, Tot City, which is expected to open doors by the end of July.

A spokesperson from Winchester City Council said: "It is always sad to hear of a local business closing and we have been working hard to provide packages of support to businesses throughout the district. Since the start of the pandemic, we have made over 9,000 grant payments to businesses, distributing in excess of £53m in grant funding. We also moved quickly in the pandemic to process support payments as they were made available.

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“We understand that it is still a difficult time for many independent retailers but we are seeing improvements in the city centre of Winchester, with our High Street vacancy rate standing at 8.5 per cent last month, compared to a national average of 14.4 per cent.

“We have had very positive feedback from local businesses relating to our support during the pandemic and this support continues. We encourage any business in the district to sign up to our city council Business Bulletin newsletter to receive up-to-date details on business support, advice, training and funding. They can also email ecodev@winchester.go.uk so that we can work with them to find the best possible support.”

For more go to thebodysolutionwear.com/