A new owner has stepped in to keep a popular shoe brand in Bolton - and has unveiled his plans for the store.

Richard Sharkey of J&J Sharkey LTD has taken over Clarks in the Market Place Shopping Centre to continue to provide the quality footwear the brand is associated with.

He took over the store this month after being approached by Clarks and is looking forward to regrowing the brand in Bolton - as more retailers move in to the flagship retail and leisure centre.

Richard said: “As many major brands pull out of smaller towns and cities as a local franchisee of Clarks shoes we are able to see real potential in towns like Bolton.

“This is helped enormously where landlords are realistic about rents.

“Our family-run, local business, has 45 years’ experience working with Clarks and hope to be a part of the centre for many years to come.

The Bolton News: One of the Clark's employeesOne of the Clark's employees (Image: NQ)“We took over as owners on April 11 and Clarks were going to close the store, so we ran the numbers and thought if we just grew it a bit and we got a deal from the landlord then it was doable.

“We had a good look round the centre and thought with other tenants coming into the centre soon it was a gamble, but it was one worth taking.

“We decided to stay in the Market Place because the centre looked in very good condition, it had a reasonable mix of tenants, there are other people about to come in and we got a reasonable deal with the rent.

“We are part of the Clarks franchise. Half of their stores are, Clarks tend to keep the bigger city centres for themselves and as places like Bolton have dropped off they let the franchisees take over them.

Read more of our top stories here:

“The lease is mine here now, so I look after the rent and the staff all work for my own company J&J Sharkey LTD and in return, I can run it under the Clarks format, but I have to pay them a percentage of my sales.”

Richard said he is excited to regrow the Clarks in Bolton as part of his new ownership.

He said: “I can’t wait to give the store love and attention, I’m like a rash and I am all over my shops, so I will be here twice a week.

“I hope we can regrow our store back to where it used to be, it used to be quite a big shop in Bolton, especially when it was around near Marks and Spencer’s.”

The Bolton News: Inside the Bolton Town Centre storeInside the Bolton Town Centre store (Image: NQ)Richard said his business runs Clarks stores across the UK.

He said: “My business is called J&J Sharkey LTD from my parents, they used to work for Clark’s, and they moved to the north of England to set up their first shoe shop with the help of Clark’s, that was a lifetime ago.

“And this is now my eighth Clark’s store, I have Isle of Man, Lytham St Anne’s, Burnley, Rochdale, Skipton and more.”

Clark’s in Bolton offers a wide range of shoes from first shoes for children up to offering comfy shoes for both men and women.

The family footwear favourite has had a 21st-century makeover, drawing on over 190 years of shoemaking expertise with creative vision and modern innovation.

Shoe shop Deichmann is to open in the retail and leisure centre with another store moving into the old Flannels unit, which is still to be announced.

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno.