ANOTHER Galashiels shop is to close, after national computer game chain Game went into administration.
As discussed in TheSouthern earlier this month, Game’s premises on Douglas Bridge – named Gamestation – will shut along with 16 other Scottish stores, making 132 people redundant across the country.
In total, more than 2,000 Game and Gamestation employees will lose their jobs across the UK and Ireland.
Game’s demise is another bitter blow for the town, with budget cosmetics and pharmaceutical company Semi-Chem announcing earlier this month it was to close after 15 years in Channel Street.
David Houston, joint chairman of Galashiels Chamber of Trade, said the town was suffering as a number of national firms faced financial difficulties.
He told us: “It is unfortunate that retail in the UK is going through tough times. A few years ago a number of national companies were attracted to Galashiels, but now these firms are struggling.
“It is not all doom and gloom, with a new Indian restaurant opening, a kebab shop to open in the old Intersport store and a number of planning applications for change of use, but it is not great either.
“However, I do think there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
A sliver of good news for the town is that Santander’s Channel Street branch will remain open, despite 56 being closed across the UK in a rationalisation programme.
The Hawick branch has also been saved, with the Spanish bank announcing Paisley, Dundee and Elgin will lose their services in Scotland.
Santander will open 25 new branches in the UK, but has not said whether any will be in the Borders.
Problems faced in Galashiels and other Borders towns reflect a pattern being seen across the UK’s high streets, with the latest Local Data Company (LDC) report showing store vacancy in February was the highest since 2008 at 14.6 per cent.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at LDC, said: “The latest increase is not unexpected as post-Christmas occupancy levels drop and retailer failures continue, with Game Group, with 600 shops, the latest.
“It is a timely reminder to the Government, who are due to respond to the Portas Review this month, of the significant challenges facing town and city centres up and down the country.”