If you are walking on Sauchiehall Street you could take two steps forward, one step back.

That’s what those with an investment in the street must be feeling with the news of Watt Brothers going into administration.

Fellow business owners, large and small, the hundreds of workers in the shops and the customers who so want the street to survive and thrive will be saddened and frustrated in equal measure at the latest retail obituary.

Unless a buyer is found, the loss of Watt Brothers is a huge blow to the efforts of those striving to bring Sauchiehall Street back to something approaching its former glory.

Businesses on the street suffered greatly with the closures caused by the fires first at Victoria’s nightclub and then the School of Art which devastated the ABC complex.

One famous name, Lauders’ Bar has only recently re-opened after a long closure and complete refurbishment following the Victoria Fire.

The Avenues Project to improve the street and attract more people is only recently completed and hopes that plans for the ABC will take the street into the future are high.

But the prospect of a third large empty retail unit on the pedestrianised main shopping stretch of the street will lead to hearts sinking in planners’ chests.

The headache of what to do with a 20th century, architecturally splendid but commercially challenging building is the last problem they needed.

It is the latest casualty in the retail sector to suffer as shppers change habits and the cost of a physical high street presence becomes harder to sustain.

Grant Lonsdale, senior real estate analyst, at CoStar Group in Glasgow, said: “Retail is more and more focussing on the prime sites, which in Glasgow is Buchanan street and the Golden Z has contracted at either end.

“There are other areas like Ingram Street near Queen Street which has had a renaissance.

“On Sauchiehall street the fires certainly did not help. But there has been good work going on.

“The avenues project is helping to improve the street and office and hotel developments are happening.

“The vacancy rate on the street is high and is going to rise which has an impact on rents.”

The street is already looking towards an alternative to retail as the big names seek a presence in Buchanan Street or as close to it as possible.

The scale of the challenges is the most noticeable sight on the famous old street at present.

The old BHS premises is still empty and awaiting already published office and retail development plans to get underway.

The Victoria’s demolition site is a gap in the street scape.

Dunnes stores and the upper floors of the old Littlewoods building occupied by Tesco is also dormant.

The Savoy Centre is struggling for an identity and customers after a refit and several discount shops and tartan gift shops occupy smaller units that have a limited appeal, aesthetic value or sustainability.

Mr Lonsdale said that vacancies however undesirable offer opportunities for development and while the Watt Brothers building would not be particularly attractive to a retail business it could be for another sector.

He added: “Not many retailers would be looking at it but others could, Dunnes building is being turned into a hotel and there are office developments.”

Glasgow is not alone in the challenges facing the retail industry. Mr Lonsdale added: “It is playing out in different cities as retail faces challenges of changing shopping habits.”

Administrators KPMG are looking for a buyer for Watt Brothers and the wider business community is hoping it is successful.

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said: “ . The last thing the area needs as it is rejuvenated by the completion of its Avenues project is for this prime location to lie vacant.

“We can only hope that the administrators manage to find a buyer for the business and its assets.”

It is a hope that will be echoed by many others who want to see Sauchiehall Street recover and once again be the street Glasgow is famous for all the right reasons.