Shopkeepers are demanding crisis talks to safeguard the future of Perth city centre.
Independent traders are calling for urgent action from council chiefs to soften the blow of the closure of McEwens.
Many traders are supporting a move to reopen the pedestrianised St John’s Street to traffic and are calling for an overhaul of parking and extra support from Perth and Kinross Council on issues like business rates.
The plea for action comes as the local authority launches a new £30,000 retail study, the findings of which will be used to inform future developments and investments.
Consultants will be asked to speak to shoppers, identify shortfalls and consider improvements.
The study is carried out every five years and was planned before last week’s shock announcement by McEwens.
However, the review has been dismissed by some business owners as a waste of cash.
“If they want to find out what’s really happening in Perth, they should come and speak to us,” said Kairen Ruse, the owner of fashion shop Blues and Browns. “We really need a sit-down meeting with people at the top of the council. We’ve voiced our concerns about the sad state of Perth for a long time, but the message was never getting through.”
Margot Dempsey, who runs the Imprimo shoe shop, said: “People don’t come to Perth for the high street chains, they come for the independent shops you can’t find anywhere else.”
Paula Tabourel, who runs the Pig Halle restaurant, added: “They should definitely reopen St John’s Street to traffic.”
Jeweller Tim Hardie said a petition raised when the street was closed to traffic showed the majority of businesses were against the move.
A council spokeswoman said executive director of environment Jim Valentine would meet with businesses next week.
“We hope as many retailers and business operators can attend this meeting to give us their views as well as receiving an update on the actions taken by the Council to date following the closure of McEwens,” she added.