Sadness as High Street discount store shuts up shop for the last time

14th March 2012 from Caithness Courier

Caithness Courier

A discount store in Wick is to close its doors with the loss of three jobs.

The 99p shop - trading under S.L. Retail Ltd - was due to shut either yesterday or today after three-and-a-half years of trading in the town.

Store manager Ann Marks explained that she and two other part-time staff will be made jobless with the closure, but they are remaining upbeat as they bid farewell to their customers.

“It’s very sad for the town, we will be sorry to leave,” said Mrs Marks.

“I think we have a large customer base with a lot of older people as well as younger customers and they are all fantastic - most of them are more like friends than customers.”

She added: “That’s the kind of town this is.”

A lack of footfall has been affecting trade at the store.

“We’re sorry that we’re closing but it’s just a sign of the times basically,” she said.

“Since Haldanes closed at the bottom of the lane there has been a decline in foot trade.

“And I don’t think we are the only shop that is noticing this.”

The three staff members were notified last week that store owners S.L. Retail Ltd, based in Glasgow, would be shutting up the shop.

The company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

A final 25 per cent off sale heralded the beginning of the end and at time of going to press yesterday staff had started packing up the remaining stock with a view to closing either last night or today, depending on last-minute bargain hunters.

The Thurso store will be unaffected and will continue to trade as normal.

Chief executive of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce Trudy Morris said that the Wick closure is sad news at a time when the chamber is actively promoting a town centre regeneration in both Wick and Thurso.

She said: “We are extremely disappointed to hear this news especially when as recently as February new traders in Wick were upbeat about the future and a number of new stores had opened.

“The economic climate remains a challenge for business as a whole.

“Our town centre development officer continues to work with retailers to look at ways of increasing footfall through collaboration with event committees such as the HarbourFest to maximise opportunities.”

The closure marks the end of yet another bargain shop in the town.

The premises previously housed Christie’s 99p Shop which closed in 2007 and then relocated to Bridge Street before closing some time later. The High Street bargain shop was reopened by the current owners towards the end of 2008.

Caithness Courier