Semichem in Cumnock is to close and another store is at risk after business owners made the decision to pull over 20 stores across the UK due to COVID pressures. 

The store located on Glaisnock Street will shut up shop for good and the Maybole outlet is also under threat following the closures which have been prompted by ongoing challenges to high street trading, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The business, which is owned by community retailer Scotmid Co-operative, is in talks with landlords in several locations and will make a final decision on a small number of the 22 stores in the coming months.

A total of 140 Semichem staff have now entered a formal consultation process. Management at Scotmid are exploring opportunities to redeploy as many as possible within its wider business.

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.”

There are also Semichem stores in Irvine and Saltcoats, but these branches are not under threat.

Ms Scott added: “The remaining stores in our Semichem portfolio are trading satisfactorily given the current circumstances. Like many other retailers, we are hopeful that, as restrictions ease, footfall will return to our high streets. I am also pleased to say that our investment programme will resume in the summer.”