Semichem has announced that it is closing up to 22 of its stores across the UK with cuts to impact jobs in the north and north-east.
Around 140 staff have now entered what the retailer deems as the “consultation process” prior to closures taking effect.
The health and household good chain say that ongoing challenges to high street trading have been “exacerbated” by the Covid-19 pandemic leading to the decision.
Stores in Buckie, Fort William and Wick will close, with the firms Peterhead store under review.
In total, the closure of 22 stores represents more than 25% of the firm’s portfolio.
Discussions are now underway to redeploy Semichem staff into other stores operated by owner Scotmid Co-operative.
‘No longer viable to keep some of our stores open’
Karen Scott, head of Semichem, said: “The high street was already struggling to adapt to the pace of change in shopping habits, including out-of-town developments and the rise of internet shopping.
“That change has undoubtedly been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sadly, we have reached the point where it is no longer viable to keep some of our stores open.
“We are grateful for both Scotmid and subsequent government support, which has undoubtedly prolonged the life of many stores.
“Our priority now is to support affected colleagues at this difficult time.
“We are already looking for redeployment opportunities within the Scotmid group and will help all our staff both personally and professionally.”
Opportunities for local businesses
Morag Stewart, chairwoman of Buckie Community Council, has said the closure, whilst “distressing”, does present the opportunity for local businesses.
She said: “It is distressing that yet another shop has gone on the High Street.
“When you look along our own High Street, so many shops are empty and vacant and what this might do is create the opportunity for bespoke shops to come in.
“We have got Superdrug on the other side which caters for a lot of the needs now that Semichem is going, but if we could try to encourage bespoke shops to come in, moving forward I think that may be the best thing to try and get people into Buckie.
“I love the idea when you go to Turriff that there are so many unusual little shops and maybe we should encourage local people to pick up the gauntlet and go for something similar.
“It is sad that Semichem is going and there is probably going to be a lot more shops that go after this pandemic.
“I hope that staff will be fully supported. It is positive that talks are ongoing with Scotmid.
“Hopefully, Moray Council could maybe step in to encourage people to come in and open little shops by perhaps reducing the rates, that would be a good idea.”
Semichem was founded in 1980 and became part of Scotmid Co-operative in 1995
|Store location||Region / City||Status|
|Airdrie||North Lanarkshire||Under review|
|Castle Douglas||Dumfries & Galloway||Closing|
|Lisnagelvin, Londonderry||NI – Derry||Closing|
|Lochee||Dundee / Fife||Closing|
|Maybole||South Ayrshire||Under review|
|Park Centre, Belfast||NI – Belfast||Closing|
|Victoria Road, Glasgow||Glasgow||Closing|