Department store to close after 123 years of trading
Hourstons in Ayr town centre is to shut next month with the loss of 81 jobs.
An Ayrshire department store which has been open for 123 years is to close next month, resulting in the loss of 81 jobs.
Hourstons, on Alloway Street in Ayr town centre, will cease trading on February 7.
South Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Campbell said the news made for a "very grim start to the year" for the area.
He added: "This is a truly heartbreaking day for Ayr town centre and especially for the members of staff who are set to lose their jobs when this iconic store - which has been an institution on our high street for more than 100 years, diligently serving people during good times and bad - closes its doors.
"Hourstons is synonymous with Ayr high street and its loss will be felt throughout South Ayrshire and beyond.
"Coming so soon after the announcement that HMV has gone into administration, this really is a very grim start to the year for the town centre in Ayr."
A spokeswoman for Hourstons said a statement would be released by the firm in due course.
Mr Campbell added: "Our focus right now is on doing everything we can to support those people who will soon be out of work.
"Our employability and skills team will be on hand to provide information, advice and support to help identify alternative employment opportunities and try to achieve the best possible outcomes for everyone affected by this difficult situation.
"We do remain committed to delivering on our ambitious plans to transform Ayr town centre and make sure it offers a healthy mix of social, cultural and economic opportunities for local people and visitors; however, there's no doubt that the bright future we envisage for the town is a good bit duller today with this sad news."
Orcadian David Hourston first opened the store in 1896, with his sons taking over the business following his death in 1917. The business was sold to House of Fraser in 1949.