Independent sports shop Intersport Tony Pryce will be closing its Barnstaple store later this year.

Intersport in Barnstaple High Street is closing down. Picture: Matt SmartIntersport in Barnstaple High Street is closing down. Picture: Matt Smart

The High Street shop will close its doors for good on March 24, coinciding with the lease of the premises expiring.

The store, formerly Apex Sports, has been a long-standing part of the high street, selling clothing and equipment for a wide range of sports as well as school PE kit.

Barnstaple shop manager Mike Hagley, part of a team with more than 60 years of experience, said it was a ‘real shame’ the store would be closing.

“We’ve known for a little while, but we’ve spent so long here,” he said.

“Personally we’ve invested a lot of time in this shop. After all the hard work of the team it’s such a shame that it’s come to this and we’re not able to keep it going.

“It’s a real shame. This shop has been here in various forms for the last 30-40 years. You can track it back to Whites Sports, then Apex, then Tony Pryce.

“The three of us in here today have been here for a combined 65 years.

“We’ve got customers in here now that came in as kids, and now have kids of their own.

“We’re a local shop and there’s not that many of them around any more.”

The Barnstaple closure follows the Minehead and Exeter stores, both of which stopped trading in 2018. Shops in Taunton, Exmouth and Tiverton remain.

While the Tony Pryce shop held its own when the likes of Sports Direct moved into Barnstaple, Mr Hagley said an economic downturn across high streets had taken its toll.

He said: “We’ve dealt with the likes of Sports Direct, but the last two years in particular the internet side of things has really kicked in, and then the economic down turn that you have seen right across the high street – everybody is struggling.

“It’s quite concerning really. Before too long I don’t know what will be in the High Street.

“In Barnstaple there’s more out of town shopping which has free parking. They do need to have a rethink if they want to keep shops in the High Street.”