Ambitious plans for High Street store

Wilkies store in Kirkcaldy High Street
Wilkies store in Kirkcaldy High Street

A long-standing Kirkcaldy department store has unveiled proposals for an ambitious revamp - returning to its traditional roots.

Wilkies, based in the High Street’s east end, is introducing a new menswear department, which is opening next Friday, and there are also plans to open a tearoom in the building which has been in the High Street for over 30 years.

The move will see the store upgraded to become the type of independent department store which used to feature heavily on the High Street many years ago.

It is hoped the refurbishment will help to give the east end of the High Street a much-needed boost and encourage more customers to shop in that part of Kirkcaldy.

Karen Forret, managing director, told The Press there are no plans to add an extension to the building, but to make better use of the current floor space.

She said: “Wilkies has been part of Kirkcaldy High Street for more than 30 years.

“I have been part of that journey for nearly 18 years and in that time we have been known as a quality, classic ladies fashion retailer with a bridal and kilt hire department. But in recent seasons we have introduced more affordable fashion brands and a footwear department.

“Both have been so well received by our customers that we are now planning to continue the journey by bringing back a traditional department store to Kirkcaldy.

“We want to give customers more reasons to shop with us and more reasons to shop in the town.”

The new menswear department will replace the current bridalwear section when it opens on August 2.

Karen continued: “We are hoping to gradually upgrade the store and in the coming year our aim is open a fabulous tea room and a cook shop as we have done our Stirling and Falkirk stores. We will also have a great gift department opening in September.”

The plans to open a tearoom are not imminent, but it’s hoped to launch it instore towards the end of the year.

Karen added: “Having a Wilkies department store will definitely encourage footfall from within the town as well as surrounding areas to the east end of the High Street.”

She added: “Hopefully this boost in footfall will benefit other retailers in the town centre too. We are very excited about the changes we are making in store and hope it will attract new customers to Kirkcaldy.”

Bill Harvey, Bid manager Kirkcaldy4All, said: “We have been working with Karen and we are delighted to hear about her expansion plans.

“It is a fantastic return to a traditional department store and is a really positive move for the High Street, encouraging shoppers to head along to the east end.”