Double blow to Cupar town centre

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CUPAR town centre is facing a double blow after it was announced both Alworths and Ladbrokes are to close.

Variety chain Alworths, which moved into the former Woolworths store on Crossgate just 10 months ago, has begun a closing down sale following the firm’s plunge into administration.

Betting giant Ladbrokes, meanwhile, is shutting its Bonnygate shop on April 19.

Alworths — run by ex-Woolies executive Andy Latham — opened amid a blaze of publicity in June last year after a short-lived tenancy by bargain chain Pound-Mart.

Its closure will affect more than a dozen staff, many of whom worked in the shop in its previous guises.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy, who cut the ribbon to officially open the store, said she was “shocked” to hear the news.

She told the Fife Herald: “I was shocked to see that this has happened, particularly for those staff who are once again thrown into very difficult times.

“It is very disappointing that the firm has not been able to make good in Cupar.

“I hope that something can be brought into the town to fill what is a very large retail space.”

Administrators Leonard Curtis said Alworths had been badly affected by a ‘downturn in consumer confidence’.

They are believed to be seeking a buyer for the firm.

Jim Hair, chairman of the Association of Businesses in Cupar and District, said he hoped the vacant premises would be filled as soon as possible.

He said: “Any loss of a major retailer in the Crossgate is a concern.

“Retail is all about footfall and historically the Woolworths store has been an important outlet in the town.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that there’s someone in the background waiting to step in.”

A spokesman for Ladbrokes said the bookmaker had decided not to renew its 10-year lease on the Bonnygate premises.

But he said all staff would be redeployed in the same roles at other Ladbrokes shops in the region.

The store will close 10 days after the biggest betting event of the year for bookies, tomorrow’s (Saturday) Grand National at Aintree.

Bets can still be placed and winnings collected until the shop closes on April 19.