Food specialist Baxters will close its Selkirk shop and cafe next spring, if the soup giant’s retail HQ in Perthshire is sold.
Twenty-three employees face losing their jobs in Selkirk, plus more staff at Baxters’ Ocean Terminal store in Leith, which is also earmarked for closure if Baxters’ Perthshire landlord sells up.
“We can confirm it is the intention to close our Selkirk retail operation,” a Baxters spokesperson said, adding: “It is likely to close early in 2014.”
He explained: “Our landlord at Blackford requires vacant possession of the Eaglesgate Retail Village to enable a sale of the development to take place.
“As this site plays a central role in the management and administration of [Baxters’] Retail Division, its closure will sadly necessitate the closure of our Selkirk outlet. The board has evaluated various alternatives, but the costs involved do not make any of them viable.”
Baxters’ £1million, 8,300sq ft store opened at Dunsdale Haugh in 2008, on a prime site formerly occupied by Selkirk Glass, complete with a 110- seat restaurant and food hall championing Scottish produce.
The decision means Baxters is shutting down three out of its five stores in Scotland – only the two in Fochabers and Kelty are set to be saved.
“Should the Blackford property be sold by the current landlord then it, along with Selkirk and Ocean terminal, will close,” the spokesperson continued, before adding a small ray of hope: “Should the situation change regarding the pending sale of Blackford, we will then review our options.”
But he intimated this was unlikely, and set out how the company would help its employees.
“Should the sale of Blackford proceed as planned we will enter a 30-day period of consultation prior to the announced closure date.
“All employees will be offered outplacement support and be made aware of any internal vacancies within the group. Redundancy would be provided to all those entitled to receive it.”
Selkirkshire councillor Vicky Davidson expressed disappointment at the news.
“As I was involved with Baxters moving to Selkirk and helped them to meet local suppliers, I am extremely disappointed that they have decided to withdraw from the town.
“It is terrible news for the people employed there and will be a huge loss as a popular shop and meeting place.
“I worry about the knock-on effects of this prime site sitting empty and we will have to look quickly at helping to find an alternative occupant for the building.”