A MUCH-loved shoe shop which stood in the heart of the community for more than 100 years has sadly made the decision to close down.

After 126 years of trading, Newman's in High Street, Crowthorne is closing its doors on February 29 due to losing its battle with customers shopping online and "extortionate" business rates.

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Caroline Silvester, owner of Newman's, said: "It is very sad that we are closing and it has not been an easy decision to make. We are closing by choice — albeit a very sad one.

"We would like to take this opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks to our loyal customers who have supported Newman's through the generations."

The independent family-run business originally opened in 1894 by William Newman as a saddlery, which sold, repaired and made leather goods.

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Since then, the business has sold a range of footwear and provides fully trained shoe fitters to help customers find the right fit.

However, the business has crumbled due to the high street changing and not being supported enough by the government, says Ms Silvester.

She added: "High streets are not what they were a couple of decades ago."

The shop owner described how many independent businesses don't feel supported and how shoppers are actively encouraged to turn to the internet.

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She added: "Business rates are extortionate, our overheads are increasing and we are now compelled to offer pensions and to contribute to them.

"Also, suppliers upping cost prices and cutting margins but selling cheaper online than we can buy direct from them means making a profit to reinvest in your staff and business seems almost impossible."