A GLASGOW shopping centre which specialises in designer brands has said it will re-open in a strong position after becoming one of few in Scotland to avoid any permanent store closures during the pandemic lockdown.

Princes Square, one of the city’s oldest retail centres, will welcome customers through its doors on Monday, along with others across the country – although there will be a staggered reopening of its 

The centre, which opened Scotland’s first Vivienne Westwood outlet and has been open for more than 30 years, is also bucking the trend by adding two new retailers in the coming weeks, including one “big name” homewear brand.

Glasgow Times:

Retail has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic – the lockdown has claimed the high-street stores of fashion retailers Oasis, 
Warehouse and Cath Kidston, while Debenhams is restructuring in an insolvency process.

READ MORE: Where to buy masks from independent stores in Scotland 

Katie Moody, marketing manager for Princes Square, said: “We’ve been very lucky, we haven’t had any casualties – or none that we know of yet  –  because obviously there have been quite a few on the high street.

“We’re bringing in a couple of new names and in the case of one, it will be their first Scottish store, which again is brilliant for us because most of the stores in here were Scottish firsts including Vivienne Westwood, Kate Space and Ted Baker.

“We don’t know what to expect on Monday. We look out and see that Buchanan Street is busy, it looks quite bustling.

“We also had people at the gates trying to get in which is a really good sign.

Glasgow Times:

“Princes Square is so iconic in Glasgow and I think it has definitely been missed. We have people in here, all day. They come in, in the morning and have breakfast, you can have lunch. Some people come in, and they love to people watch.

“We will have a bit of a staggered opening in terms of the restaurants. So in the case of Zizzi’s, Pizza Express and Restaurant Bar and Grill, they are opening up their restaurants down south and seeing how it works, then rolling it out up here.”

Like other centres, Princes Square has put a number of measures in place to protect customers and staff – but Katie says stores will face challenges enforcing a new requirement for customers to wear masks in shops.

She said: “The guards will be asking people when they come in to wear a mask but if they say they can’t, for health reasons, we just have to take their word for it The police will also be going round doing spot checks.

"All staff will be wearing either a mask or a visor.

“We have three entrances at the front of the centre but will only be  using two, with an exit at the back so there are no pinch points and it’s very easy for customers to flow around the centre.”

READ MORE: Glasgow is third most 'at risk' high street with dozens of stores set to close 

One of the centre’s newest tenants, luxury candle, fragrance and gift brand Essence of Harris, said it has survived by switching all production to hand sanitiser.

Glasgow Times:

James McGowan, managing director, said: “Once lockdown was implemented I reached out to other businesses on the island and sourced the materials to make hand sanitiser.

“That allowed us to stay alive. We are back now in production making candles. 

“Two of our shops have closed down unfortunately in Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports but that’s down to the drop in passenger