Paisley’s troubled retail scene has been dealt a fresh blow after the shutters came down on a long-established High Street business.
The doors at jewellery store H Samuel have closed for the last time after its lease came to an end.
A ‘To Let’ sign is already in place at the High Street shop, with all of the stock cleared out.
There is also a notice in the window, thanking people for their custom and informing them that the chain’s other Renfrewshire branch is at the Braehead Shopping Centre.
H Samuel is the latest in a long line of the town’s stores to have closed in recent times.
A report published last year by assurance, tax and advisory company PwC revealed that a total of 19 Paisley stores shut in the period between January and August last year, while 13 new stores opened – making a deficit of six.
Shops selling jewellery, computer games, toys, clothes, greeting cards and furniture were found to be amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2012.
In contrast, cheque cashing, pawnbrokers, discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers, bureaux de change and charity shops have enjoyed growing popularity.
Tom Johnston, president of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, admits it is “disappointing” to see H Samuel close down but has also stressed that retailers shutting up shop at the end of a lease is becoming a national trend.
He told the Paisley Daily Express: “They don’t need so many outlets and, if people don’t use the shops on the high street, they have to shut.
“If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
“It’s regrettable but I think we’re going to see a lot more of this due to high overheads and rent for retailers.”
A spokeswoman for H Samuel’s parent company, Signet Jewellers, said the decision to close the Paisley store makes business sense.
She added: “We continually re-assess our portfolio of stores on a store-by-store basis, particularly when individual store leases come up for renewal.
“This particular closure bears no reflection upon the future plans of the Signet business estate overall within the UK.
“We are sorry to be leaving Paisley. However, we do have an H Samuel store 10 minutes away at Braehead Shopping Centre, as well as another H Samuel 15 minutes away at Glasgow’s Silverburn Shopping Centre and a wide online offering at www.hsamuel.co.uk”
Last year’s report by PwC revealed that an average of one shop closure per day was taking place across Scotland.