• Ayrshire Daily News

Closure of BHS and Store Twenty One will leave a dark cloud over Ayr high street until a new lease c

BHS and Store Twenty One to close doors over the Summer

The imminent departure of BHS will leave a dark cloud over Ayr High Street untill a new lease can be found for the supper size store. The store has the most expansive ground floor trading space of any store of its type in the town. And the building has just been put on the rental market in a desperate bid to find a new tenant.

Also this week it emerged clothes chain Store Twenty One will close its doors a week on Saturday June 18. All eight staff will lose their jobs.

Due to the size of the BHS building, sources say it will be a “minor miracle” if a business is found to take it over. The rates alone are £252,000 a year - or £690 every day of the year.

BHS was paying a collosal £530,000 in rent and had a lease until 2082. It will now shut as soon as the stock fizzles out.

A town surveyor said the following statement

“Sadly there are very few retailers right at this time who would be interested in this building unless rent inducements were beyond good.

“There is a very real danger this will be empty for the foreseeable future.

“It will be of concern to Marks & Spencer next door and have an impact on foot-fall.

“The only consolation for the owner is non-domestic rates are not payable to the council if it is shut.”

Ironically the B-listed red sandstone block and the next door Poundland had been on the market in February for sale at offers over £6 million before BHS announced they were in trouble. Rental agents Gunn clearly realise it will be tough to get a single tenant.

A member of staff at the 5,300sq ft Store Twenty One said:

“I have been here 13 years which is a long time. But the company no longer wants to pay big rates and rent as we rent from Slater menswear up the stairs. Online shopping is killing the High Street and that’s why BHS failed too.”

Ayr High Street hosts many big names including Wilko, Primark, New look, Game, Cex, debenhams and HMV with New look also announcing a move from there current Kyle centre unit to a new bigger unit at the Ayr Central shopping centre.

The Kyle centre is also expected to go under a multi million make over including a New cinema and food court while regeneration work gets under way to open up the bottom of Ayr high street into an open planned river walk. Greggs is also on the move from there new Market street shop to a new Bigger shop with inside seating just round the corner at the current American candy shop.