A BOOKSELLER is closing his shop in Wallingford after more than three decades following a fall in trade.

Toby English said a noticeable decrease in footfall and takings over the past six years meant he would not be renewing the lease on his shop in St Mary’s Street in the town centre.

He opened his shop in the Lamb Arcade in 1983, then moved 200 yards to St Mary’s Street in 1994.

Father-of-two Mr English, 58, said: “In 1994, there was no Amazon, no Kindles, and no Oxfam shop across the road.

“Our shop will close but the business will continue and we will be selling online, with a greatly reduced stock, from an office in the town centre, with visits by appointment only.”

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Last month the results a South Oxfordshire District Council survey showed that 12 out of 138 shop units in Wallingford were vacant – 8.69 per cent compared to the national average of 13.2 per cent.

Grandfather-of-one Mr English, who lives with wife Chris, 58, in Wallingford, said: “Footfall has decreased over the past four to six years so the shop has become an increasingly marginal part of the business.

“Everyone is buying everything off the internet and our internet sales overtook the bookshop about a decade ago.

“When I started out I never envisaged I would be selling books in Wallingford for 32 years.

“We have been at this shop for 21 years and have had a lot of fun engaging with customers and I will miss them, although I will still be selling at book fairs.

“Another lease would run for at least five years and we want to spend more time playing with our one-year-old grandson Noah.”

Mr English said the reduction in footfall, combined with the end of the current lease, led him to decide to close the shop.

Toby English Books has specialised in children’s books, art, architecture, academic books and history.

A half-price sale is now under way, running until Monday, April 20.

“The last day of April will be the closing date,” Mr English added.

“Lots of categories of books have become unsaleable. People are not creating libraries in the same way they used to and the market is more for nostalgia, decorative stuff on technical books like aeroplanes.

“Landlords in the town need to do more short lets so that businesses are not tied in too long and there could be pop-up shops.”

Mr English has also run bookshops in Woodstock, Oxford, and London.

In February Wallingford’s department store Pettits launched a sale after announcing it would downsize with a number of job losses.

The store has now closed for refurbishment, with nine flats being built on the upper floor and it will reopen before Christmas or in the spring of next year.