Glasgow & West Scotland

Watt Brothers: Sauchiehall Street store to close in December

Watt Brothers store in Glasgow Image copyright Watt Brothers
Image caption Watt Brothers opened its first store more than 100 years ago in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Watt Brothers flagship Glasgow store will close in mid-December, administrators have confirmed.

A total of 55 jobs are now at risk unless a buyer can be found.

More than 250 people lost their jobs after the Scottish department store chain went into administration in October.

The Sauchiehall Street store was the only one of 11 to remain open after administration was announced, but will close when its stock is cleared.

The fourth-generation family-owned business was incorporated with a flagship store in Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street in 1915.

It opened a further 10 leasehold stores across central Scotland.

They were in Irvine, Lanark, Falkirk, Port Glasgow, Hamilton, Livingston, Clydebank, Clarkston, Robroyston and Ayr.

They sold a wide range of items including fashion, electrical, homeware, jewellery, gifts and beauty.

Stock clearance event

KPMG's Blair Nimmo, who was appointed joint-administrator in October, said: "We're continuing to explore a number of options and talk to interested parties in the hope that we can achieve the best possible outcome for Watt Brothers. Throughout the administration process, remaining staff members have worked tirelessly to ensure that as much stock as possible can be sold."

The company's turnover had increased year on year, peaking at approximately £24m in 2018.

However, in line with many retailers, the increased revenue did not translate into profit and increased competition from online and discount retailers resulted in a loss in 2018.

The family was unsuccessful in securing new investment.

Remaining employees will help the administrators collate the company's assets, including stock and the freehold property.

What happens next?

Image copyright Watt Brothers/Facebook
Image caption Allan Watt founded the business in 1915

The Sauchiehall Street store is entering "the final stages of clearance" and will close when no more stock remains.

Unless a buyer can be found the store will close in mid-December, with the loss of the remaining 55 jobs. In total, 309 people will have been made redundant when the administration process is complete.

Administrators said that, in addition to speaking to potential buyers, they were working with Skills Development Scotland and JobCentre Plus "to support the staff who have been made redundant."

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