Shops & Markets

Man’s World store on Byres Road to close in a sign of increasing pressure on shops

By Ian Marland at

Another retailer is set to disappear from Byres Road for good.

Man’s World, the menswear and school uniform store, is to close at the end of April with the loss of four jobs.

Man's World and Byres Road

Sign of the times: pressures are increasing on small businesses

The company has been sold to English-based family chain Stevensons.

Managing director Doug Wilkie told Glasgow West End Today many factors were at play in the decision to sell up.

But he said the costs of trading on Byres Road were high.

And he said new parking charges were a major hindrance to businesses.

“Byres Road as a location has probably gone more over to the cafe society, the restaurants and the bars – away from the clothing side of things.

“The overheads are high, the rates are high – and the parking is atrocious with the voucher parking.

“We still have residents parking on Byres Road because they get the permits and they park outside the businesses.

“And there’s nowhere for customers to park – which has made life miserable on Byres Road.”

‘NOT BEEN STRONG’

But Doug admits “there’s never just one factor in any business disappearing.”

Changing retail trends are also big forces behind the decision to sell up.

Stevensons bought Edinburgh-based Aitken & Niven this week – and is now a major supplier of uniforms across the Central Belt.

It will continue to supply uniforms for local West End schools from Man’s World’s main store in Giffnock and also online.

All menswear lines will cease following a sale of existing stock.

Doug said: “The menswear business has not been strong.

“And we had an offer for the schoolwear part of the company which we have sold to Stevensons.

“The school uniform part of the business is continuing but only from the Giffnock shop – the menswear is ceasing altogether and the Byres Road shop will be closing.

“The Byres Road shop will close towards the end of April.”

‘GENERAL WOES’

He adds: “The school uniform market is not so bad because a lot of parents want quality that’s going to last rather than things that wear out.

“We also do school uniforms all year whereas the supermarkets tend to focus on the back-to-school period.

“Menswear has been more affected by the general woes on the high street.”

In changing times – especially the recent awareness of gender equality issues – such a male-oriented brand may have past its sell-by date.

Doug says: “I think the days of schoolgirls going in to Man’s World to buy their school uniform seems a bit odd.”

He said it had been a hard decision to take because of the jobs affected.

Stevensons may open another site in the city but the Byres Road site was not deemed viable.

‘DIFFICULT’

There are four employees at the Byres Road, among them people who have been at the store some time.

“The most difficult thing is the staff redundancies,” says Doug.

“All the menswear is being cleared out – and we have a sale of that at the moment.

“And until the end of March we are taking 20 per cent off school uniforms.”

Or the new company Doug says: “Stevensons have got a very good website.

“They are a very professional organisation and they will serve the schools extremely well.

“Parents will not see any difference – all the schools that we are supplying at the moment, they (Stevensons) will continue to supply.”