Back in 2018, Matthew Jacobs saw an opportunity to open Leonard Jay’s first store outside London.

The family-run firm of gentleman’s outfitters was launched in 1962 in Bishopsgate.

That shop no longer exists but there are five others in the capital - in New Bond Street, Piccadilly, The Strand, Newgate Street and Fenchurch Street.

The firm was launched by the Jacobs family, and Matthew, one of four brothers, stepped in to keep the tradition going.

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Leonard Jay moved into the unit occupied by CH Brown and Son, which closed in 2017 after more than 44 years, to sell English heritage town and country wear.

Oxford Mail:

The company is known for We are known for pure English wool suits and Scottish tweeds, as well as a large range of Barker’s and John White shoes.

It also offers a selection of Gant, Peregrine and Crew Clothing Casual wear and has its own website, but staff like to see customers face to face.

Mr Jacobs said he was starting to see footfall returning to the market as consumer confidence grew following easing of lockdown conditions during the pandemic.

He added: “Of course Covid has been hard for all businesses with so many closures and interruptions but we are starting to see footfall coming back.

“It’s not yet back to pre-Covid levels and we would like to see more customers from international travel and tourism.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly created challenges but we have done well with customers from in and around Oxford and from places like Swindon and Reading.

Oxford Mail:

“We have also done well with students and people visiting students.

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“The Covered Market has had a challenging year or so but we are starting to come out of it and I hope that continues - everyone wants to go back to living their life.”

Mr Jacobs said ties are no longer ‘in demand’ like they were 20 years ago but there is plenty of demand for traditional tweed jackets, suits and shirts.

The store is open five days a week - Tuesday to Saturday - and Cristina Opera runs the Covered Market store.

“Cristina does an amazing job for us and we couldn’t run the Oxford shop without her,” Mr Jacobs added. He has a team of about 24 staff and said: “As an employer I think my staff are great - they are a very nice bunch, speak to each other on the phone and work across the different stores.”

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When Mr Jacobs launched the Oxford store, he said: “We are very excited to open up our first store outside London and could think of nowhere better than the Covered Market. A third generation gentleman’s outfitters will hopefully fit perfectly in the historic market.

"We expect there to be great synergy between the market and a brand which focuses on tradition in gentlemen’s attire.”