New Hotter shoes store opens in Norwich city centre

A shoe fanatic with more than 25 pairs from her favourite brand was the first through the doors of a new shoe shop in Norwich city centre yesterday.

Annabel Clifton and her guide dog Amy cut a ribbon to open the new Hotter shoe shop in Gentleman's Walk.

She won the chance to open the store and get a free pair of shoes in a competition on Twitter - and walked out with not one but three pairs under her arm.

Ms Clifton, a singer from Eaton, Norwich, said she had been buying Hotter shoes for more than 15 years online and from a store in Wymondham.

'It's brilliant that they are opening in Norwich,' she said. 'I rarely wear any other sorts of shoes because these are so comfortable.

'They have such beautiful colours too, especially in the summer when it's all reds and pinks and yellows.

'Most of the shoes are made in the UK and I think it's incredibly important to support English shoe factories, especially somewhere like Norwich.

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'And I like the fact they have half sizes and they do a wide fitting, which you don't see in many shoe shops.'

The new store is one of the first in a wave of expansion for the brand, which hopes to go from 10 to 25 outlets nationwide by the end of next year.

There are 12 new employees at the Norwich store, and manager Vickie Sparkes, 25, said if things went well there could be more jobs in future.

'It's been a really hectic few weeks,' she said. 'I've been with the brand for six weeks and there's been a lot to do, training the team and getting the store ready for opening day.

'We've had a brilliant reponse from our customers - lots of them are like Ms Clifton and they're really passionate about the brand.'