The Australian icon leaves the UK as the Brits stop shining their shoes

James, who has shoeshine chairs in Canary Wharf, east London, added: “Partly that’s because people are wearing far fewer suits and smart shoes. COVID accelerated this with more work from home, but even before that there was a trend.


“In addition, sneakers are being worn more and more often – even to work. While shoes die, sneakers live. We are renovating sneakers now – repairing and painting them.”

Romi Topi, founder of TopShine at Burlington Arcade in central London, said: “COVID-19 has definitely changed the culture of what people are wearing at the moment. We’ve gone into the trend of being too casual.

“People work from home and the few days that they work in the office, they look like they just got out of the gym. The city is now more like a university campus.”

However, at least one manufacturer is keeping an eye on what gap in the market Kiwi’s departure could leave.

Cherry Blossom, the British company which, like Kiwi, was founded in 1906, sees its exit from the UK as an opportunity.

Natasha Seal-Jones, Marketing Director, said: “There’s always a place for a sparkle in your step. Be it a job interview, a wedding or a party, shiny, clean shoes inspire confidence and that need will never go away. We want to convey this trust.”

Kiwi was created by William Ramsay, an Australian who gave it its name because his wife Annie was New Zealand.

It was purchased by Sara Lee Corporation in 1984 before being sold to SC Johnson in 2011, which now intends to focus on its range of other cleaning products. The Australian icon leaves the UK as the Brits stop shining their shoes

Callan Tansill

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