It's the internet 1 town centre 0 as Newcastle Stoke City shop closes
STOKE City supporters have voiced their disappointment after the club closed one of its three official stores.
The shop in Newcastle's Roebuck Centre opened three years ago, but was only supposed to be a temporary move.
On Saturday, it closed its doors for the last time, leaving another unit empty in the town's main shopping area.
Stoke City said the decision followed an increase in online orders at the expense of high street purchases.
Now the club hopes to put an even greater emphasis on internet sales and its Britannia Stadium superstore.
Shoppers in Newcastle said they were sad to see the outlet close.
Rebecca Shirt, from Newcastle, used to work across the road in Jessops.
The 25-year-old said: "I am surprised because it was always quite busy."
Malcolm Knott, aged 57, from Newcastle, said: "It is sad that there is another empty space in Newcastle."
The club still has its store in the Potteries Shopping Centre.
But some fans claim travelling further afield will be an inconvenience.
Supporters looking to purchase tickets on the phone or online will not have to pay a booking or postage fee.
Potters Chief executive Tony Scholes said: "We have seen a significant shift in people's spending habits in recent times. An increasing number of our supporters are shopping online these days and therefore we feel the time is right now to focus more on this line of business.
"Another factor in reaching this decision has been the growing popularity of our superstore at the Britannia Stadium, since a substantial investment in its refurbishment."
Mr Scholes added: "When you consider we only opened the Newcastle store on a short-term lease before Christmas 2009, it has been a success.
"We have traded there for more than three years and it was very popular in November and December.
"Therefore, we will look into the possibility of operating a temporary unit in the town at peak times of the year in the future."
A national report revealed 18.2 per cent of shops in Newcastle town centre were empty at the end of June 2012, compared to 16 per cent at the end of December 2011 and 15.4 per cent in June of that year.
In September, the borough council announced plans to offer lower or zero rents in selected vacant units.