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Retail NI Welcomes Belfast City Council Rejection of Sunday Trading Extension

Retail NI has welcomed this morning’s decision of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to vote against proposals to extend Sunday trading hours. The Committee voted by 16-4 against extending Sunday trading - a bigger majority than last year’s vote.

Retail NI repeated its call for a new broader strategy for developing the weekend economy of the city with key strategic partners.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This was the right decision by Belfast City Councillors”

“If the proposed change had gone ahead it would have placed extra pressure on retail workers and would have had a damaging effect on small independent retailers (below 3000 sq. ft.) who trade on a Sunday morning”

“Local independent retailers have seen a 71% hike in their rate bills following the last rate revaluation and continue to struggle to stay in business. This proposal would have resulted in a number of local community independent retailers closing. These are retailers who provide an invaluable community service for many elderly, disabled and people without cars”

“We now need to focus on moving forward and agree a broader strategy to grow the weekend economy of Belfast. Retail NI is committed to seeing Belfast becoming a truly global city with a competitive retail and hospitality offer to shoppers and tourists”

 

“Retail NI tabled proposals for a Small Shop Sunday campaign to encourage shoppers and tourists to support the city’s smaller retailers on a Sunday morning between 11am-1pm. Large retailers would continue to trade from 1pm onwards”

“This proposal would offer visitors something different for a Sunday morning and could showcase Belfast’s fantastic independent retailers through a dynamic social media campaign and increased animation”

‘”Our proposals have the support of the shop workers union USDAW and could provide tourists with something different on a Sunday morning. It does not require any changes to the existing Sunday Trading legislation and we believe it could be established in time for this summer”

“We have seen how successful campaigns such as Small Business Saturday have had a real positive impact on independent retailers and we believe our Small Shop Sunday idea would address the central issue of providing activity on a Sunday morning which is distinctive to the rest of the week”

“Small Shop Sunday could be implemented over a three month pilot, starting from July and evaluated in October”

“We have always said that just allowing large multinational retailers to open on a Sunday morning lacked imagination and that new thinking is required”

Glyn Roberts 07515710517