Selkirk High Street has been dealt a hammer blow now the closure of one of its two supermarkets has been confirmed.
The town’s Sainsbury’s Local branch will shut up shop for the final time later this year after a decade of trading.
Its closure has sparked concern and disappointment, amid fears the chain’s departure will lead to townsfolk bypassing High Street to shop in Galashiels instead.
A spokesperson for the supermarket giant has denied reports that closure is a direct result of the negative impact roadworks outside the store have had on trade.
A spokesperson said the closure was due to a range of factors and pledged that every effort would be made to find new employment within the company for the small number of staff working there.
Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar is among those concerned about the negative impact the closure will have on life in the town.
He said: “I’m more than a wee bit disappointed that Sainsbury’s has decided to close shop because it’s going to have a detrimental impact on shopping and community life in Selkirk.
“That impact will come in two ways.
“At the moment, with the Co-op and Sainsbury’s both being in Selkirk, it results in competition. They have to fight for trade and keep prices lower. That will no longer necessarily be the case.
“Secondly, Selkirk shoppers may now decide to head to Asda and Tesco in Gala instead and the other shops in town, the likes of Cameron’s the bakers, will lose out as a result.”
Nationally, Sainsbury’s has been through a turbulent period over the last few months, leading to a proposed merger with fellow supermarket giant Asda being blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority in April.
Mr Edgar added: “I understand why Sainsbury’s are doing this because of the Asda merger that didn’t work out, and because of a number of other factors, but it’s disappointing for Selkirk because losing this kind of presence on the High Street is going to have a big impact on the community and the way people live. It’s a bad day for the town.”
Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP John Lamont added: “It is disappointing to hear about any employer leaving our high streets.
“My thoughts are with any staff who might be affected, and I’d encourage them to get in touch with me if they need any assistance.
“I urge Sainsbury’s to do all it can to minimise the impact on its staff and to try to find a new retailer to take on the premises.”
Sainsbury’s store in Selkirk became the company’s first outlet in the central Borders when it opened in a former Somerfield unit in 2009.
The chain’s stores in Hawick, Kelso and Peebles will continue trading.
The London-based company’s spokesperson added: “Our Selkirk Local store will be closed later this year.
“We understand it will be an unsettling time for those affected, and we’re working to redeploy as many colleagues as possible.”