Tesco Store Closure Emphasises Need  For Focus on Rejuvenating City Centres

Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton has said that the announcement by Tesco that it intends to close its Metro store in Royal Avenue is yet another blow to the city centre. Mr Hamilton said that this latest piece of bad news for the retail sector should act as a spur to the NI Executive to take the need to rejuvenate city and town centres more seriously.

Commenting, Simon Hamilton said, “The retail sector has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. It was already facing huge challenges but the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 are massive and will be felt for some time to come.

The news that Tesco plan to close its Metro store in Royal Avenue is the latest blow to our city centre. It comes hot on the heels of the closure of Easons and starkly illustrates the difficulties that face the retail industry. 

Belfast Chamber will continue to work with the likes of Belfast City Council and our other city partners to rejuvenate and regenerate our city centre, but this should send a clear signal to the NI Executive that it needs to take this threat to the future success of our high streets more seriously. 

Belfast Chamber calls on Ministers to work closely with stakeholders like ourselves to form a task force that focuses on how we can breathe renewed life back into our city and town centres and coordinates work across government towards that important aim.

Belfast Chamber also calls on the Executive to put in place further financial support aimed at facilitating the safe reopening of our city and town centres. Ensuring that our high streets are clean, safe and welcoming environments at this difficult time will be key to boosting footfall and improving trade.

We cannot allow our city and town centres to continue to absorb blows like this without fighting back.  Belfast Chamber stands ready to work with the Executive and others to build back our city and high streets across the region”.