Costumiers Angels is to leave the West End after 180 years, blaming increases to rents and business rates.
While its shop on Shaftesbury Avenue will close, fancy dress hire will continue to be offered from its warehouse in north London, home to its costume arm.
Angels Fancy Dress is leaving the West End because of the landlord’s plan to redevelop the building it is in. But the company has not been able to source a new location, because of the cost of rates and rents.
Company director Emma Angel said it marked the end of a “West End landmark”.
“We are being priced out of London because of high rents and rates.
“People talk about the death of the high street, but while big stores are dying because of online retail, the rates and rents in London are still extremely expensive.
“At present, an independent store owner can be paying well over half-a-million pounds per year in rates and rents to take over an empty unit without stairs or fitted toilets.
“That’s before you’ve done the flooring, fitted it out, hired staff and taken a single sale,” she said.
“While our business can continue online and physically from our Hendon warehouse, operating alongside the movie industry side of the company, as of now, the curtain comes down on Angels’ presence as a West End landmark and a rite of passage for party-going Londoners,” she added.
She also claimed antisocial behaviour in the West End had prompted the decision to vacate the premises.
“We have had the windows broken 11 times in the past three years – at a cost of almost £14,000 – and we now pay a security guard to keep the store safe in the evening. Organised drug dealing blights this area and with it comes a lot of bad behaviour,” she said.
Angels opened as a second-hand clothing shop in 1840 when Morris Angel and his son Daniel began hiring out costumes to actors looking for work in the West End.