The closure of two city shops shows Aberdeen is not immune to the decline of the high street, a business body boss has said.
Innes Walker, the city centre manager for Aberdeen Inspired, said the high street slump is being felt across the country, in the wake of the closure of the Union Street branch of Game and the AGA store on Little Belmont Street.
The Game shop closed last week, and it is thought that AGA, which sells a range of high-end stoves, shut over the weekend.
Despite two closures in the last week, Mr Walker hopes the efforts of Aberdeen Inspired, the business improvement district for the city centre, will bring a “new offering” to the people of the Granite City.
Mr Walker said: “We’re really disappointed to hear this news. Our thoughts go out to the staff and business owners involved.
“We wish them luck in whatever venture they go for next.
“We’re aware of the challenges to the high street and it’s not something that’s unique to Aberdeen – that’s UK-wide.
“The problems are well documented, but we need support from local and national government, as well as businesses, to get behind our city and town centres as they continue to develop.
“This is happening all over the UK. People have thought in the past tha,t because of our links to the oil and energy industry, we’ve been insulated from it somewhat.
“That is absolutely not the case. We are just as susceptible, and more than ever we need to be promoting our city centre to people, to ensure them it’s a great place for them to come and spend money.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Mr Walker believes the implementation of the city centre masterplan – passed by the council in March 2017 – will help boost what Aberdeen has to offer residents and visitors.
He said: “Aberdeen Inspired will be supporting a lot of the good developments coming from the city centre masterplan, whether that be some of the office developments we’ve got, or working towards having more people come in to live in the city centre.
“We’ve also got the restoration of some of the old infrastructure on Union Street – we have the McGinty’s Group coming in to take over the old E&M building.
“We also have the new buildings such as Marischal Sqaure, the Silver Fin and the Capitol Building.
“It’s a two-pronged attack, because we’ll be supporting Union Street and the wider city centre along with the masterplan, as well as putting together initiatives that bring people in to support local businesses and to spend money in the city centre, including Nuart or Inspired Nights on the Green.”
For Mr Walker, the future of the city centre lies more away from the retail opportunities which it currently offers. He said: “If you look at the masterplan, there are a number of new developments, but I think that in the future there will be much more residential living, and a more mixed offering.
“People come into the city centre for an experience rather than just to purchase.”
Shoppers who frequently use Game will still be able to visit the other Aberdeen branch, based in the Bon Accord Centre.
However, the closest AGA store is in Inverness.