Here is the news - we’re closed

This long-established newsagent closed last month.
This long-established newsagent closed last month.

In changing times Uddingston’s Main Street has retained more of its traditional businesses than most small towns and villages.

Despite strong competition from supermarkets, it can still boast independent butchers, bakers, florists and greengrocers.

However, the village no longer has a dedicated newsagent, with the closure of long-established Mungalls, near the train station.

This follows the demise of The Paper Shop, also on Main Street, two years ago.

Mungalls closed last month and plans have now been lodged with South Lanarkshire Council to convert the premises into a restaurant.

A report from consultants Muir Smith Evans says the plan is for a “high-end burger and grill” which would be “complementary to the other existing restaurants within the village centre”.

The latest closure doesn’t surprise Des Donnelly who retired in 2015 after running his newsagent in Mossend for 55 years.

While newspaper sales have fallen as more people read online, he reckons that’s not the main reason for the “steady decline” in newsagents which traditonally sold papers, cigarettes and confectionery.

Mr Donnelly, a former Scottish president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, said: “There are several factors but I believe the most important is the onset of the living wage.

“Staff are earning more than proprietors who would go bankrupt if they paid themselves as much.

“Proprietors are by law required to pay the living wage, but can’t afford it for themselves.”

Mr Donnelly said reduced margins and costs such as rent and rates are other factors.

He added: “A lot of people are selling up and, inevitably, the shop ceases to be a newsagent and becomes something that is more profitable.”

More on this story in the Bellshill Speaker, out now.