STAFF at Glasgow’s oldest department store were in the dark about apparent plans to sell the city centre property to save the troubled firm from collapse.

Watt Brothers is facing an uncertain future, after the current owner of the four-storey Sauchiehall Street premises announced possible plans to close the city centre shop and relocate the business elsewhere in the city.

Willie Watt said the proceeds of the sale would be ploughed back into the 103-year-old business to help fund an expansion plan and described market conditions as “brutal”.

He said another site, in Glasgow, was being looked at, which would relocate the store to one floor.

However, if the store does close it would be a further blow for the Sauchiehall Street area, which has suffered the loss of a number of long-standing businesses including the ironmonger Crocket.

In March, a major blaze ravaged a row of shops and other businesses, which are currently being demolished and has created a no-go zone in a once thriving retail area.

One member of staff at Watt Brothers told the Evening Times: “None of the managers know what’s happening.

“We only found out after seeing it online and we were like, ‘what’s happening’.”

The latest company reports show the 11-store business suffered a loss of almost £750,000 on group sales of more than £21million. The website is currently offering discounts of up to 75% on its perfume range.

Mr Watt said: “The last few years in the retail sector have been brutal. Older stores do not lend themselves to modern retailing. People are looking for deals and bargains all the time.

“We are potentially looking at a new site in Glasgow. If we do move, it would be to a site that is all on one floor.”

Watt Brothers started selling ribbon and lace in the reign of King George V.