Supply chain woes have led to the downfall of an iconic store that has stood on a West Perth strip for the best part of a century.
Thompsons of West Perth has been operating for 92 years across four generations of the Beard family.
Operator Perri Beard said the decision to close at the end of this month was “sad” for the close team, but after two years of supply chain issues and a drop-off in customers due to COVID-19, it was not a shock.
“It’s the end of an era but it’s not entirely unexpected with our business being based almost entirely on imports,” Ms Beard said.
“They’ve seen how many shipment delays we’ve had. It became harder and harder to do a job that once came naturally.
“We didn’t previously have much involvement in the shipment. It just came to us. But it increasingly became an insurmountable challenge any time someone shipped something to us, with hours and hours of admin work.”
The store was originally known as Thompson’s Frock Shop.
“It’s not the same business as it was in the 1930s,” Ms Beard said. “Each one of us has put our own stamp on the space; I opened a cafe.”
She said Thompsons was going to be available for lease.
“Historically we’ve rented to banks and that was a lot of the property in West Perth,” Ms Beard said.
“But even a lot of banks don’t have physical spaces because they’re all online.
“All the banks in the area have closed, including some of our tenants. We’re not sure who’s opening physical spaces in the area because everyone is cutting costs and doing it tough.”
Ms Beard said a lot of business catered to the over 45 age bracket and relied heavily on events and travel.
“We would often have people come to buy an outfit for their cruise or mother-of-the bride,” she said.
“Events, races and weddings were a big factor. When you take all that away and when you’re dealing with an older market that is cautious with getting out and about, it becomes quite challenging.
“It was a combination of the supply issues and the drop-off in trade that sped up the decision to close as we’ve got no stock coming for the winter season.”
“That’s untenable when you’re working in an industry where a season is three to six months at most.”