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Scottish chain Watt Brothers falls into administration

Scottish department store chain Watt Brothers has fallen into administration, making more than 200 members of staff redundant. 

The fourth-generation family-owned business appointed Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden of KMPG as joint administrators on Friday after facing significant margin strain. A total of 229 of Watt Brothers’ 306 employees were made redundant with immediate effect. Ten of the chain’s 11 stores were closed immediately on Friday with the exception of the Glasgow flagship, which remains open while stock is cleared.

The chain opened its first store on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street in 1915. It has since opened a further 10 leasehold stores across Scotland in Irvine, Lanark, Falkirk, Port Glasgow, Hamilton, Livingston, Clydebank, Clarkston, Robroyston and Ayr. 

Watt Brothers generated a loss in 2018 despite increased revenue, as a result of increased competition from online and new discount retailers. 

Nimmo said: “Despite the director’s tireless efforts to increase margins, cut costs and recapitalise the business, Watt Brothers continued to incur trading losses as a result of the well-publicised challenges being experienced across the retail sector.

“Ultimately, this has led to the unfortunate demise of a well-known and highly-regarded business. We will be holding a stock clearance event, and are grateful to the remaining staff for their efforts and assistance at this difficult time.

“We are working closely with Skills Development Scotland, via their PACE team, and JobCentre Plus to support the staff who have been made redundant. We would encourage any party who has an interest in acquiring the business and its assets to contact us as soon as possible.”



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