Pop­u­lar city cen­tre store in rent wran­gle

`Clos­ing down’posters up

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - War­ren Hardie

A ques­tion mark hangs over the fu­ture of a Stir­ling cloth­ing store.

Ed­in­burgh Woollen Mill has an­nounced its store in Mur­ray Place is to close ‘sub­ject to land­lord ne­go­ti­a­tion’.

The store’s four staff were yes­ter­day (Tues­day) unaware about the out­come of the talks.

Posters in­dict­ing the store was clos­ing were pasted on the shop win­dows last week, with the pro­viso, in smaller print, in­di­cat­ing that this was sub­ject to talks with the build­ing’s land­lord over rent.

A spokesman for Ed­in­burgh Woollen Mill has de­clined to com­ment while the ne­go­ti­a­tions were on­go­ing.

The pop­u­lar store has been op­er­at­ing in Stir­ling for more than 12 years.

Store man­ager Roz McQueen told the Ob­server she was unaware of the move un­til she re­turned from hol­i­day on Mon­day.

Staff were in­formed by the head of­fice last Wed­nes­day but were not given de­tails of the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“We don’t even know who the land­lord is”, said Ms McQueen.

“Staff are wor­ried about not hav­ing a job com­ing up to Christ­mas and the New Year. We all love our wee job and we don’t want to go.

“Cus­tomers are not happy about it. Most are el­derly and have been com­ing here for years”.

She said staff had been given no in­di­ca­tion they would be trans­ferred to another store, adding: “We’re hop­ing the land­lord will re­alise that they won’t get any­one else and the store will re­main open”.

Un­cer­tainty over the shop’s fu­ture adds to a tough year for Stir­ling busi­nesses.

In Septem­ber, Wilkies depart­ment store closed af­ter 15 years. The Boozy Cow restau­rant and Anne Sum­mers also ceased trad­ing ear­lier in the year, although both have now been re­placed by new busi­nesses.

This fol­lows a long line of other clo­sures in re­cent years in­clud­ing McArees, Maplin, Gavin’s Pet Shop and Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe.

There are also a num­ber of empty shop units across town, in­clud­ing four units on Goose­croft Road which have lain empty since they were built in 2015.

Some have blamed high street store clo­sures on busi­ness rates in the city but the pos­si­ble clo­sure of Ed­in­burgh Woollen Mill sug­gests some busi­nesses are un­happy with rent lev­els.

MSP for Stir­ling Bruce Craw­ford said: “The sad fact is that many peo­ple are mov­ing to on­line shop­ping, mak­ing many busi­nesses that for­merly con­ducted much of their trade on the high street, strug­gle to con­tinue to do so.”

“As al­ways, my thoughts are with staff and cus­tomers of the shop at this time.”

We all love our wee jobs and we don’t want to go

031218SHOP_01

Uncertain fu­ture Stir­ling’s Ed­in­burgh Woollen Mill

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