Council leader John Alexander fears the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic could mean more big business will pull out of Dundee.
Shoe and clothing store Size? has announced its city branch will not re-open following the coronavirus lockdown, while restaurant chain Frankie and Benny’s is also at risk of closure.
The Restaurant Company, which owns the italian-american eateries, has entered “emergency talks” with Overgate bosses over its current lease in the shopping centre.
More closures are expected across the country and Mr Alexander fears Dundee will not be exempt from the harsh economic reality post-lockdown.
He said: “I sadly don’t think that the announcements of Frankie and Benny’s and others will be the last.
“I think I said before that there’s a slight inevitability around – that’s heart-wrenching to say that – but there is a reality there that more businesses will likely go to the wall.
“I mean, it’s devastating, obviously. It’s devastating for the city, devastating for the individuals and the families affected.
“It’s difficult enough when everybody’s facing the same issues, in terms of the lockdown, and then finding out that also you’ve lost your job. It’s hugely, hugely detrimental I think.
“The reality is, in many ways Covid-19 is the straw that broke the camel’s back – it’s not necessarily the sole reason that some of these companies are closing some of their stores or closing down entirely.
“We’ve got to do as much as we can to prevent that and support staff over the next six months to five years, because there’s going to be more bumps along the way, and we’ve got to do our best for all of those folk.”
It has already been announced that bosses of Cornwall’s successful Eden Project were looking at a site in Dundee which would potentially bring a world class attraction to the city. The Scottish Government will also grant cash for the new Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc and Mr Alexander believes both could be a huge shot in the arm during any economic uncertainty.
He said: “As a city, we need to be thinking about what the next three to five years looks like.
“Now, much of that will be informed guess work. But we’ve got to build some of the strategy around that to try to support industry and business.
“That will be based around the long-term, perhaps more major investments; the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, it was really important before Covid-19, in terms of the economic success of the city. It’s going to be doubly important as we move through this.
“And Eden Project, for example, is also going to be really fundamental to helping the economy as we strive for better and try to build on what was already there.”