Pet shop to bid farewell to Wilmslow


A pet store, designed exclusively for dogs, has announced that it will be closing in March, four years after opening in Wilmslow town centre.

Pets At Home opened their flagship Barkers' shop in the former Blockbusters store on Alderley Road in March 2014 and have since opened a further six shops across the country.

The Barkers of Wilmslow team posted a notice on Facebook stating "It's with an extremely heavy heart that today we have to announce that Barkers of Wilmslow is closing on Sunday 18th March 2018. As many of you know, we were and have had an incredible four years here in Wilmslow – meeting and being here for you and your barkers has truly been an honour.

"I would like to reassure you all that this decision was not an easy one and certainly not one we have taken lightly, but due to many factors we have to say farewell."

Barkers sold a selection of dog food alongside a range of doggie accessories, such as designer leather leashes, collars made from recycled materials and British-made bandanas as well as offering its very own made-to-order bedding service for dogs. The store also featured a grooming spa, offering a variety of services such as trimming, nail clipping and treatments such as Reiki.

A spokesperson for Barkers told "It is with regret that we have decided to close Barkers of Wilmslow at the end of a trial. All colleagues from the Barkers store will be offered alternative roles in local Pets at Home stores.

"We would like to thank customers for their support and promise them a warm welcome at our local Pets at Home stores and Groom Rooms."

Barkers of Wilmslow will close on March 18th and the other six Barkers' stores will all close by the end of March.

Barkers, Pets At Home


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Chris Hall
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 4:12 pm
I am totally shocked by this decision as loved this place and the staff ... would be interested as to why ... if they can’t make it here what hope is there for other retailers ...
Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 4:36 pm
This is terrible news.....and I agree with Chris, in that, if a business that is owned by Pets@home cannot make it work in Wilmslow then I fear for the demographic of the future. There are some fantastic independents rubbing shoulders with global corps currently and I truly believed that 'Barkers' would be here for far longer than 4 years. Hopefully all staff will be given the option to move to a Pets@home store if that suits them. Sad news for me and my pooch!
Stephen Moulton
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 4:39 pm
So sad to read that news! Dexter, my schnauzer, has had his best haircuts there. Nice team, great venue. Another nail in the Wilmslow shopping-coffin.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 4:53 pm
It's all about the rent, boys and girls.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 5:20 pm
Such a shame as my daughter loved taking her Little dog there for goodies. Will be interested to know reasons suspect it might be rents/rates as the culprit as usual ?
Sarah Statham
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 5:22 pm
My dog is going to be devastated. She loves it in there. Can’t go to Wilmslow without her pulling me in
Jon Williams
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 7:48 pm
I think it would have done better if it was a NORMAL pet shop
Adam Bower
Wednesday 10th January 2018 at 10:26 pm
This is terrible news and again possibly expected. Although a chain, it did have an independent feel and as for the comment from Jon Williams- what is normal?? Barkers is 'normal', it has a huge range of affordable 'normal' things for I dont get that comment. What is important though is the fact that we now have a huge amount of former prime retail space that is needs addressing. Landlords and the council need to agree a level of rent verses rates- true independents and now national chains cannot afford to be here. Its almost to the point that we need to see a map of who owns what in Wilmslow and ask them what they expect from their property in terms of yield and the life expectancy of the property whilst vacant.
Jayne Life
Thursday 11th January 2018 at 12:13 am
Absolutely devastated! It would be interesting to hear from Pets at Home as to why they have decided to close as I can’t think of what else Barkers could do in order to make a success of the store. As a frequent visitor they ticked all of the boxes to run a successful local business and this could be seen firsthand in store. There are so many people in support of Barkers remaining open that I would urge Pets at Home to reconsider. There is no other shop like this on the high street. A real loss if it goes.
Thursday 11th January 2018 at 9:15 am
Agree with most other sentiments. The problem is that I believe "Pets at Home" is closing all the 7 stores which operate as "Barkers" around the country. They have obviously decided that large warehouses rather than up-market shops is the way to go. From Wilmslow's point of view it is tragic. The store was busy, Barkers sponsored various events, they promoted cafes being dog friendly and on artisan market day a large number of people came with their dogs specifically to go to Barkers. You would readily see people drop off their pooches and go into Hoopers or other shops, so its loss is a loss to other outlets in the town too. Town centres promote "linked trips" and this shop surely did.

The whole situation needs looking at. Why are rents/rates so high? Why have Cheshire East allowed the growth of Handforth Dean when its effect on town centres has long been understood. Some landlords clearly appreciate the way things are going hence the application to change the top floor of a shop in Grove St to living accomodation.
James MacDonald
Thursday 11th January 2018 at 12:55 pm
I’m surprised it lasted this long. When it opened I gave it 1 year so it surpassed my expectations. From the outside it always looked like a premium aka expensive pet shop aimed at the ‘wealthy’ Wilmslow residents, even if it stocked affordable items.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 11th January 2018 at 1:15 pm
Surprised it lasted so long. Do the sums. £60,000 at least rent and rates. I would estimate this business needed to make over £3,000 per week just to cover outgoings. Thats a lot of treats and haircuts.
Great idea Adam, perhaps when the owners (pension companies etc.) are exposed those with funds invested can ask why they are so happy to pay the rates with no attempt to get a tenant. See the old Co-operative Bank Wilmslow. Empty for years. Commercial property agents are useless and if Reeds Rains are interested their empty shop in Handforth is not on the agents website!!!!
James MacDonald
Friday 12th January 2018 at 8:02 am
I am quite able to calculate sums, but thanks for enquiring.
Debi Whitney
Friday 12th January 2018 at 9:33 am
I am so sad to have read this news, we have loved Barkers from the day it opened and the staff there are fantastic. When ever we take our two dogs into Wilmslow we always have to take them in there for a good look around and always buy their birthday cakes from Barkers as the dogs love them! No idea what we will do in March and April when their next birthdays come up. Going to Pets at Home just will not have the same friendly atmosphere that the staff provide here.
Oliver Romain
Saturday 13th January 2018 at 7:10 am
It was an experiment that didn’t work. There is a dog groomers on Chapel Lane. Nothing ‘designer’ about it but it will be there for years because it is in the right location and doesn’t spend all its cash on branding and a big high street shop in a small town.
Empty shops are part of the solution to lower rents. Empty shops balance out supply and demand and give choice to tenants.
It’s economic illiteracy to think that filling all the shops solves the ‘problem’ of high of high rents, on the contrary it would fuel even higher rents.
Do you think someone setting up a new shop wants just two shops to choose from? No, they want to shop around just like the everyone does.
What would be good is to change pension laws to allow pensions to rent out living space above shops. That would change the economic model and help solve the housing crisis without the nimbys complaining. Too many shops have wasted or empty space above. That’s where the focus should be.
Jayne Life
Saturday 13th January 2018 at 1:25 pm
Barkers wasn’t just a dog groomers though. It was a shop providing a whole range of goods for dogs which can’t necessarily be purchased from other local shops. I’ve not come across any other dog/pet shop that provides the same kind of experience for dogs and their owners from their customer service to things like the parties and Santa paws events, nor who have been so influential in creating such a dog friendly town. I think Barkers have had quite a high profile throughout Wilmslow and surrounding areas that their loss will be felt by many.
Deleted Account
Saturday 13th January 2018 at 3:31 pm
Hello Jayne,

Yes you of course right it wasn't just a dog groomers. Much much more than that but sadly yet another example of Wilmslow under trading.

Hello Oliver,

You say quote :

"It’s economic illiteracy to think that filling all the shops solves the ‘problem’ of high of high rents, on the contrary it would fuel even higher rents."

What economic. model are you referencing. Is there a typo here. Maybe ?
Peter Evans
Saturday 13th January 2018 at 7:16 pm
It is very sad that Barkers is closing but PaH are closing all 7 at the same time, so the reasons may not be high rents in Wilmslow. We simply do not know what criteria they used for their trial.
However, as ever, most correspondents have assumed it's because our nasty landloards charge too much rent. There are a lot of shops empty, but if the landlords were that bothered they would lower their rents. If they don't, it's because they don't want to or need to - these are their business decisions and we've seen no news articles of landlords going broke because they have too many empty shops and too little income.
To be honest, we've seen the same arguments about too high rents being unfair and driving business out for as long as I can remember. I wish rents were lower, less shops were empty and Wilmslow was a better place to shop and wander around - but I guess the landlords would not agree.