THE planned closure of Marks & Spencer in Sauchiehall Street will have a major impact on the Glasgow thoroughfare.

It will have an effect on those who seek to inwardly invest in the area and those also considering focusing elsewhere in the city.

The reimagining of city and town centres has been a challenge for regeneration gurus as flagship stores like John Lewis and M&S close their doors and there is a leaning towards mixed-use developments including restaurants, bars, hotels and apartments.

In the Scottish capital, prospective developers are arguing the economic case at the planning stage and the City of Edinburgh Council has largely been supportive of new types of business moving in to rejuvenate empty shells in places as surprising as the iconic Princes Street.

While some stores have abandoned the western end of Princes Street for the St James Quarter, hotels, restaurants and other ventures moved in. Diageo has created a whisky tourist attraction, the Johnnie Walker Experience, in a former department store which will come into its own when tourism comes back.


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However, it takes an inventive approach to be able to advance the right projects for the right place at the right time.


READ MORE: Marks & Spencer Sauchiehall Street 'to close' in Glasgow


Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said the closure of M&S will be a significant blow for the street, and that “we may now have reached the time for co-ordinated intervention to reverse Sauchiehall Street’s decline”.

HeraldScotland: Stuart Patrick said the news is a 'significant blow'. Picture: Jamie Simpson.Stuart Patrick said the news is a 'significant blow'. Picture: Jamie Simpson.

The pressure on the high street will only be compounded as the cost of living soars, with inflation at 5.4% – higher only in March 1992, when it was 7.1%, and some way adrift of average pay rises at 3.8%.

The unemployment rate of 4.1% and the number of vacancies of 1.24m is enough for the Cabinet to trumpet the statistics as another momentous UK Government victory, with that rate at near pre-pandemic levels, but of course no mention of the reported 400,000 who have left the employment market for reasons often connected to the pandemic.

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Also, furlough, we know, is not so much some wondrous creation from the hearts and minds of the Boris Johnson government, rather it is one of the first economic remedies in the public administration crisis handbook.

Rising energy bills are also now just round the corner and, as business editor Ian McConnell says: “Of course, the scale of the developing woe has been obvious for months to many, including policy-makers. In these most difficult of times, it is absolutely the last thing anyone needs right now.”

In the longer-term energy outlook, the landmark ScotWind leasing round has provided political capital for a Scottish Government which has given no indication that it can ensure the renewables revolution delivers benefits for the country on the scale hoped for, says business correspondent Mark Williamson.

The extent to which the tourism industry is suffering is highlighted by deputy business editor Scott Wright, with more than half of businesses in a Scottish Tourism Alliance survey having either zero or one to two months of cash reserves to stay afloat.

Also this business week, Omega Diagnostics’ chief executive, Colin King, is standing down with immediate effect following nearly two years of Covid-driven highs and lows for the testing kit manufacturer, reports Kristy Dorsey.