BRECHINERS have been left in shock as yet another shop is set to close at the Christmas holiday break.
Stephens Fishmongers, which has been trading on Brechin High Street for 35 years, has decided to close shops in Brechin and Montrose.
Manager David Ritchie said: “The way things are, they just aren’t working out I’m afraid.
“The economic climate, along with falling fish-sales, for us is a big problem as well.
“It could be because fish is becoming more expensive, compared to beef and things.
“I think lifestyles now as well, with both man and wife working during the week, means there’s not as much action up the high street as there once was.
“So it really has just come down to the economics of the whole thing for us; we’ve just had, I suppose, a particularly poor year.”
The company does operate one mobile fish van itself, and provide other suppliers with wholesale goods, so the firm will continue to trade at some level, from its base in Gourdon.
“Obviously this wasn’t the way we want to go forward, but at the moment we’ve had to admit that that’s the position we’re in unless things really pick up a lot”, continued David.
“After all the years we’ve been there it’s really the last thing we want to do, but we’re faced with these economic hard-times I’m afraid.
“And it’s another empty shop on the Brechin High Street, which we could do without.”
Staff members Alison Ross and Shirlie Duthie said they were devastated at losing their jobs, especially Shirley, who works at the shop full-time.
“September was such a quiet month for us”, she said. “But you don’t expect it to happen to you, do you?”
Despite the rising price in fish, the shop had maintained as low prices as possible, with staff admitting they had increased prices for the first time recently for three years, while still selling it at a cheaper price than they should.
The Montrose store, which has been open for around 40 years, will be closing at the same time.