Published: 07/07/2018 19:00 - Updated: 06/07/2018 10:24

Argos set to close its city centre store

Written byVal Sweeney

 

Stewart Nicol
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol says internet shopping has consequences for the High Street.

A UK-wide retailer is shutting its store in Inverness city centre to focus on its out-of-town base.

Home and general merchandise retailer Argos is closing its base in the Eastgate Shopping Centre but will keep its other store at the Inverness Retail Park.

It is not known whether another retailer is lined up to take over the vacant unit but one city business leader described the loss of the store from the city centre as a blow.

A spokeswoman for Argos confirmed its Eastgate Centre would close this month although she declined to specify the reasons behind the closure.

"All colleagues were offered the opportunity to redeploy to our other store in Inverness, which is less than a mile away," she said.

It is understood the store will close its doors on July 10 (Tuesday).

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, recalled the retailer had moved several times in the city centre before settling into the Eastgate unit.

"It’s an undoubted blow to the city centre in that it is closing," he said. "It is good that it is staying in the city but it is that whole debate about out-of-town versus the city centre.

"It is quite clear that all High Streets and even shopping centres are under extreme pressure because of internet shopping and the way people choose to shop. There are consequences of the way we shop.

"I think the challenge is to maintain a city centre which is an attractive place to visit and socialise and purchase things."

Mr Nicol said "an awful lot of hard work" remained.

"It is a hard task but I think if the public and private sector work together we can do that," he said. "We need to maximise all the opportunities that there are and the Reinvent The City Centre campaign has highlighted that over many months.

"It is about making the city centre a really positive place to visit whether it is for the shops or socialising or meeting friends."

No one was available at the Eastgate Shopping Centre to comment on whether the unit to be vacated by Argos would be re-occupied bu another retailer.

As well as having a network of stores across the UK, Argos is one of country’s largest High Street retailers online.

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