It’s no secret our high streets are struggling. Even before Covid lockdowns and spiralling inflation, more of us were choosing to shop online.
Our town centres have lost a variety of familiar names in recent years as retailers struggle to make ends meet. Clothes retailer M&Co has now become the latest casualty of changing shopping trends.
The Renfrewshire -based firm, which used to be known as Mackays, is one of Scotland’s best-known clothing chains. But it will now close all 170 of its stores by this spring.
The brand may survive online under a new owner but the physical shops will be shuttered. It’s a tragedy for the almost 2000 staff employed by the chain.
It’s also a major blow for the small and medium town centres where M&Co was the last clothes retailer still trading.
Local authorities and the Scottish Government must now come up with a plan for the future of our high streets.
Too often the focus is on big city centres. But smaller towns need a vision for the future that doesn’t solely depend upon shopping.
The boom in eating out has already led to a renaissance of some high streets.
Bars, restaurants and cafes have weathered the financial storm of recent years better than many major retailers.
Encouraging more people to live in town centres is also a must.
But creative thinking is required at a time when public finances are stretched.
High streets can thrive again but we must act fast to save them.
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