Lincoln

Ruddocks of Lincoln set to close after 160 years due to ‘fall in pound and rising rates’

Family business Ruddocks of Lincoln is set to close its doors for good after more than 160 years of business on April 15.

Owner of iconic store on Lincoln High Street Henry Ruddock has said that the shop ‘has been struggling for many years’, adding the business has seen pressures from the drop in the pound.

Some 19 staff have been given notice that they may be facing redundancy.

The High Street store closure will not impact on the firm’s printing business and Henry Ruddock has indicated Henry’s Tea Room (currently located upstairs) is hoped to continue in some form. 

The company was originally established in 1872 by Henry’s great grandfather and has been in its current location for 113 years. Henry took on the family business at the age of 50, in 1997.

Henry Ruddock, owner of family business Ruddocks of Lincoln. Photos: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Business

He said: “It is with huge sadness that I have to announce that Ruddocks shop will be closing.

“The shop has not been profitable for many years, despite several attempts to keep the building and the business fresh, by refurbishment of the outside, remodelling a new (old) shop front; refurbishment of the inside; introducing toys and other products; by starting Henry’s Tea Room, and other initiatives.

“None of these have made any difference and, worse, last year showed a significant downturn.

“A realistic assessment of the future gives no grounds for optimism, the most recent challenge being increasing buying prices due to the fallen pound.

“Competition is rife. Consumers in the UK are fortunate to live in a land of plenty, with easy access to any number of suppliers, ready to deliver in 24 hours or less, and instant information about availability and price.

“The rating and tax system favours faceless, untaxable international companies who put nothing back into the community, as do many consumers.

“Expenses have increased, particularly business rates, which are now more than 10% of expenses, and have to be paid regardless of turnover or profit (or lack of), or status (chain or independent).

“Other taxes have been introduced, then increased, so that now a significant portion of money taken at the tills goes to the government in various guises.”

Tribute to staff

“We have tried everything we can think of, but the gap is now just too wide, and increasing, with no realistic prospect of a turnaround,” Henry said. “Too much would have to happen and it is unrealistic to expect that. Enough is enough.

“I wish to pay tribute to the staff here who have given everything to try to make it work. They are all going to continue to work here to ensure an orderly closure.

“Without their hard work, willingness to go the extra mile, cheerfulness and efficiency this story would have ended some time ago.

“I could not have wished to work with a finer group of people and I will miss them more than anything.

“I reiterate that the design and print business will continue and is not affected by this decision, and also Henry’s Tea Room will continue, but that will depend on how well it is supported after the shop closure.

“I really do hope that the centre of this glorious city of Lincoln revives but if, hopefully when, it does, sadly Ruddocks will not be here to see it.”