Staff at a city make-up store have criticised Union Square and claimed high rental costs are driving businesses out of Aberdeen.
Kiko Milano’s is the latest shop to announce its closure, with staff saying they are “devastated” after learning the store will cease trading on September 24.
Staff member Ryan Conroy said: “It’s really sad. We were called in on Wednesday and told. All the staff have been made redundant, due to Union Square’s rent and rate costs.
“Michael Kors left as well for the same reason.
“Something needs to be done to stop this before more people lose their jobs.
“Companies just can’t afford to stay within the Square.”
The nine staff are attempting to gauge whether there is sufficient interest to move into a new unit at Union Street where, Mr Conroy claims, rent is far more affordable.
He said: “We’re hoping to drum up enough support to move to Union Street – I’m setting up an online poll to gauge interest.
“Our customers have been distraught at the news – we have some older ladies coming into the shop, not just to shop, but to socialise.”
A spokesperson for Union Square said: “We can confirm that after announcing plans to close a number of its UK stores, Kiko Milano at Union Square has closed.
“We look forward to bringing something new to the unit soon.”
A former council planning chief said he “empathises” with the staff and argued that, if a proposed Union Square development is approved, further closures will follow.
Michael Hastie, convener of Aberdeen City Council’s planning committee during the 1990s, previously stated Union Square had turned Union Street into a “wasteland.”
He said: “High rent and rates kill shops. Union Street is a depressing place – the council needs to be doing more to entice businesses to the city centre and support businesses. ”
Ryan Houghton, a local Conservative councillor, said: “It is always disappointing, but if they do manage to relocate to Union Street, that would be brilliant.
“Union Street is going through a difficult time.
“But, with investment from the council and local businesses, hopefully we can make the high street something that will last for decades.”