WANTAGE is losing two more town centre shops with traders blaming tough economic conditions.

The town is to be left without a shoe shop as Stead & Simpson in the Market Place is to shut. And the Wantage Health Store in Wallingford Street is set to close after 29 years in the town.

The shoe shop, which has been in the town for about 15 years, collected 2,000 signatures on a petition against the closure but the company has decided to press ahead with closure.

Manager Jay Cleary said seven jobs would be lost.

She said: “They (shoppers) are coming in and asking to sign the petition because there is no where else they will be able to buy their shoes. They really want it to stay open.

“People of the town don’t want to lose the shop and we don’t want to lose our jobs.”

Wantage Town Council member John Morgan said it was a shame to lose a business from such a central location. He said: “Any empty shop is bad for Wantage.”

The Oxford Mail was last night unable to contact the landlord of the shop or Wantage Health Store owner Karen Treanor.

Stead & Simpson spokesman Charlotte Voss said: “The store is closing down due to poor performance and rising costs.

“We always try to redeploy any staff affected to nearby stores wherever possible.

“The date of closure is not yet confirmed.”

The town’s other shoe shop, Geoffrey Bailey Shoes, will close at the end of the month after nearly 110 years in the town as Mr Bailey’s daughter Helen Hook does not wish to continue the family business when her parents retire.