Stunned shopkeepers at the town’s former ‘go-to’ shopping destination found out on social media that the owners of the centre have pulled the plug.
Steven Mackie, 22, from Ayr, runs Sports Prints, a fledgling business that only moved into the Kyle Centre in November.
His business sells various football prints from both Scottish and English clubs.
He is one of several affected business owners now left looking for alternative premises.
He said: “It wasn’t a good thing to find out, not just for my business, but for the High Street in general.
“The only reason I found out was through some friends messaging me who had seen something on Facebook.
“I phoned up the next day to clarify if it was true. Unfortunately it was.
“However, the business manager [Fiona Paton] said it was out the blue.
“As for the other shop owners, I assume they were in the same situation – it was all out of the blue.”
The Kyle Centre opened its doors in 1988 at a cost of £21 million.
At the time, it was the town’s first large, modern indoor shopping complex.
During that time, local retail took off with 20 different shops on the ground floor, a few fast-food outlets on the first floor with several other associated units.
The centre boasted big, popular chains such as Topshop, River Island and New Look to name but a few.
Over the years, though, the centre struggled to maintain a unique shopping experience – with the larger, more out-of-town retailers, increasing their influence as the years went on.
Graham Hamilton, asset manager at Alloway (Scotland LLP), the owners, confirmed: “The Kyle Centre will not reopen following the national lockdown.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has delayed our redevelopment plans/negotiations and brought forward the inevitable closure of the centre.”