Popular city centre store in rent wrangle
`Closing down’posters up
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 The Boozy Cow restaurant and Anne Summers also ceased trading earlier in the year, although both have now been replaced by new businesses.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
Uncertain future Stirling’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill