City retail icon to close

PERTH retailing icon Sportslane will wind up its business early next year after selling women’s fashion for more than 50 years.

The Lane family, which opened its first store in Hay Street in 1947, has made a decision to move out of retail and close down its two city stores, Sportslane and Lanes Lingerie.

Store manager Irving Lane said the decision had been a difficult one but the family felt the business had “run its natural course”.

Dwindling numbers of city shoppers also had played a part in the decision, Mr Lane said.

“A lot of retail business has moved from the city to shopping centres ... this trend has not just been over the past year, more like the past 10 years,” he said.

“We are a big shop and we rely on consumer traffic and volume, and that has declined over the years.”

The Real Estate Institute of WA 2001 pedestrian survey showed that, since 1999, pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the Sportslane store had dropped by 15 per cent. And, overall, pedestrians in Hay Street were down by 3.4 per cent.

Lanes boutique was established in 1947 and was quickly followed by Sportslane in 1951, which was established to cater for the growing popularity of sporting fashion.

The success of those two stores allowed the family to open Lanes Lingerie in London Court.

Mr Lane, who has been with the business for 22 years, said business had thrived in its early years and still had a loyal group of customers.

“We really have seen the best of times, and that is not to say it won’t happen again, but fashion and clothing is in a bit of a lull at the moment,” he said.

“We haven’t been forced to close from a financial point of view, the family has decided to hang up the hat and close on a positive note.”

Mr Lane said the family would continue to trade for a few months before moving out of the Hay Street store and leasing it out.

The family would look at other business opportunities in areas other than retail.

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