British fashion retailer Whistles is to close its flagship Glasgow store in a further blow for the city's retail offering.

The brand, which is a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, is to move out of Princess Square, ending an 18-year history with the Buchanan Street shopping centre.

Katie Moody, of Princes Square, said the centre was 'saddened' by the decision.

Customers were being directed to the company's Edinburgh store on George Street.


Whistles announced the closure of its Nottingham store in April.  

The company was founded in 1976 by Lucille and Richard Lewin.

In January 2008, Jane Shepherdson, former Topshop director, signed a deal to purchase a 20 per cent stake in the brand and was appointed the job of chief executive. 

She was widely credited for weathering what the label described as “challenging trading conditions” and returning it to profitability in 2016.

Whistles was bought by the South African retailer, Foschini Group in 2017, which also owns Phase Eight.The company announced the closure of its Nottingham store in April.

Katie Moody, of Princes Square, said: "We can confirm that after 18 years in Princes Square,  Whistles will close their flagship Glasgow store next month.  

"We are very sad to see them go."

READ MORE: Store wars: Can Edinburgh take Glasgow's retail crown with new offerings

The pandemic has led to some of the biggest high street names folding or being taken over by other brands.While supermarkets have seen a boost in profits, non-essential brands have struggled to stay afloat.

Top Shop, which had two stores in Glasgow city centre, was bought over by the online retailer ASOS ending a long-standing and pivotal high street presence.

Other big name brands which have closed stores in other cities include John Lewis, which has closed its Aberdeen store.

Debenhams  launched an 80% off sale ahead of shutting all of its UK stores including Glasgow.

The department store chain collapsed at the end of last year, with the closure of all its stores confirmed after Boohoo agreed to only buy its website and brand in a £55 million rescue deal.

READ MORE: Boohoo buys Debenhams brand and website for £55million 

In March, luxury brand Hermès announced it was shutting its only Scottish store at House of Fraser in Glasgow.

“Glasgow is definitely going through a rough time, there’s no getting away from it,” says Dr Cara Connell, a lecturer in fashion and marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University. 
“When you walk up and down and see the number of store closures.


“However, just recently All Saints have said they are moving to a bigger store next door on Buchanan Street because they say their Glasgow store is their biggest revenue store in the UK after Regent Street. It’s not a completely grim picture. 

“Glasgow and style and fashion is not dead but I think it more comes down to the brands themselves and the position they are in and how resilient they are and how well placed they have been to weather the storm.

“You don’t hear it (Whistles) talked about as much as it once was. It’s such an iconic store, though, that one”.

READ MORE: £50million plan for hospitality hub at former Debenhams store 

Dr Connell said the shift to online shopping during the pandemic would have hit some fashion retailers harder than others.

“I think a big challenge for a brand like Whistles and their target market is that it’s that slightly older 35-plus female consumer who is now shopping almost near exclusively online. That’s been one of the biggest changes in consumer behaviour.  It’s the younger demographics who are still keen to go in and try things.

“It was a trend that was happening before but the pandemic has definitely exacerbated that.

“The typical Whistles customers might have children and parents they are caring for so they are so time squeezed. We are also out of the habit of going in to meet friends for lunch in town.”

The Herald has contacted Whistles for comment.