South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said there are real concerns about the future of our high streets after it was announced that online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought the Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton brands and websites but will not take on any of the high street stores or its workforce.
This is the latest blow for our high streets as it was announced just weeks ago that Boohoo had also purchased the Debenhams brand and website but not its shops.
Burton and Dorothy Perkins have stores in Dumfries, Hawick and Ayr, among others, and have been a feature of our town centres for decades and if they close, there is a real fear that it could signal the further decline of our high streets.
Colin Smyth said: “This news is yet another blow for retail and I have real concerns about the future of our high streets with so many shops closing down.
“This is already a deeply worrying time for everyone, including staff working at these stores, so this news will be the last thing they wanted to hear and my thoughts are very much with them and their families.
“It is time the UK Government looks seriously at increasing taxation for large online traders in order to level the playing field for high street shops. Unless action is taken soon, our high streets, which have been so important to communities for hundreds of years, are going to become ghost towns.
“The Covid pandemic has hit retail very hard but the last thing I want to see are more empty shop units on our high streets.”